The news media’s difficult, if not impossible, attempt to cover Donald Trump and his Game of Drones is understandable to anyone who has ever worked at the thorny nexus of politics and journalism.
As good and as overworked as they are, the media are simply overwhelmed by this hardheaded man and his strange exploits. While reporters, even the best ones, move at human speed, events around this president move and mount up at Twitter speed. Reporters simply cannot keep up with the chaos that surrounds Trump from his own bragging, his impulses and lies, Russian spies, even our nation’s worst natural disaster.
The economics of gathering and disseminating news has a great deal to do with today’s overworked media. It is expensive business, and telling audiences news they do not want to hear is not particularly welcomed, either by officeholders or shareholders. So many young new faces in New York and Washington are there because the large corporations can hire an entire newsroom of 25 year olds for the cost of one Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw. And it is a less-informed American public that suffers.
The White House press corps still does not seem to understand Trump’s schemes of covering some outrageous tweet with a tweet even more outrageous, which wipes out coverage of tweets that came before. We are just now hearing proof from the Department of Justice that Trump’s allegation months ago that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower was an outright lie.
Hitler and Stalin led their people over the edge with the “Big Lie,” which left 60 million people dead in WWII. Trump’s misleading statements and outright lies currently seem to work for him.
Can you imagine how Trump’s 34-percent approval base would have reacted if Obama or Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush had tried to get away with the outrages Trump creates every day? And while there is talk of impeachment, it is useless: Democrats do not have the votes and Republicans don’t have the guts.
Where Hitler and Stalin blamed Jews and threatening neighbors for their countries’ problems, Trump has aimed his biggest guns at Mexicans and Muslims. His Justice Department aims to send 800,000 young immigrants to utter homelessness in other countries because their parents brought them to the U.S. when they were under 15 years of age.
Trump’s seeming tolerance, if not outright support, of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville simply spoke what he has been thinking since he was a millionaire boy riding to school in his father’s limousine. As a boom-boom developer, he spent years violating federal civil rights laws to keep blacks and Latinos out of his family’s rental properties, and paid a multi-million dollar fine for it.
“I never admitted doing anything wrong,” he would say in the campaign. He didn’t have to; you know where his heart was.
While reporters struggle to do the important job left to them in the U.S. Constitution, Trump’s press office — headed by entry-level politicians — has been of no help. His first press secretary, Sean Spicer, moved to the White House after heading up communications for the National Republican Committee. Current spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ main claim to the job is being the daughter of a former governor of Arkansas who now spends his time defending Trump on right-wing radio and Fox News talk shows.
As for their constant lying to protect the president and badgering inquiring reporters, one wonders if they ever read the First Amendment or understand what it means in the American system.
One last thing: How many Americans do you think know that, without the work of a free media, they would never have heard of Russia’s meddling in our presidential elections? Or that Trump and his family will benefit greatly if his tax cuts are approved? That he makes millions a year renting hotel rooms to agents and officials of foreign governments who just want to be close to him?
Houston, we have a problem. And it is not all flooding.