Truth from a Certain Point of View

Creative Commons photo by Daniel R. Blume

The President’s policy decisions are unpopular at best, with protests popping up all around the country. He knows he’s not nearly as beloved as his Democratic predecessor, an eloquent, younger politician with a lovely wife and two adorable children. He’s married with a family of his own, but public support left over from the previous administration clearly has worn off.

Anything he does right seems to be credited to his predecessor, who made mistakes to be sure, but gets a pass from the media and the public.

The President’s not a perfect man by a long shot. His infidelity is legendary, as is his crassness. He’s famous for using his power and influence to compel people to do what he wants. He tries to claim he is not a bigot, but his language would suggest otherwise. And his profane discourse in private should probably earn him the title Cusser-in-Chief, not Commander-in-Chief.

All these facts might, to the average person, add up to grounds for getting rid of the Leader of the Free World. Why wait until the next election? Let’s move for impeachment now, shall we?

Unfortunately that won’t work, because Lyndon Baines Johnson has been dead for the last 45 years.

Yes, this extended analogy is a bit of a stretch, glossing over the obvious differences between Johnson and Donald J. Trump. LBJ was a consummate politician who pushed through Congress key pieces of legislation expanding civil and voting rights for millions of Americans.

But we would be remiss in not admitting their similarities and perhaps wondering if the partisan nature of the media is a small part of the cause for how we view these two differently.

Unless you have spent the last several days abstaining from all media, you probably have heard words from the President of the United States that typically would not be aired on basic cable

When discussing immigration reform with a group of bipartisan lawmakers late last week, Trump advocated for a reduction of people allowed in Haiti, El Savador and assorted African “shithole countries”

Democratic aides first leaked the story to the Washington Post, MSNBC picked up on it as well and CNN has been beating the drum throughout the weekend. Curiously enough, when CNN and MSNBC report the story, they use the full expletive, while agencies like Fox News and Drudge Report interjected dashes in the usual places. And Fox News seems more concerned with racist attacks against Meghan Markle than immigrants from developing counties.

Trump denied the language and being a racist in general, but that didn’t stop Democrats from slamming the remarks and Republicans at the meeting from scratching their heads as to whether they could remember what exactly the President said.

By the time of the Sunday talk shows, the GOP began criticizing Trump for his comments. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul may not like Trump, but said he isn’t a racist, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum went so far as to say that his comments were “intemperate” and “off-color”, but that they shouldn’t distract from finding solutions on immigration reform. Utahans Mitt Romney and Rep. Mia Love, called Trump out directly, but they seems to be in the minority in their party on this issue. Even former FBI Director James Comey is getting in on the action in his own, clever way.

Of course, the extreme irony is that Donald Trump is being accused of being a racist on the weekend we celebrate the birth of the most prominent civil rights leader of the 20th century, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people are also looking back at another transformative African American leader, President Barack Obama, with fondness.

The press is reflecting this but, in a larger sense, is fanning the flames on both sides. Fox News is quoting Trump, who blames Democrats for the failure on immigration reform. CNN’s Chris Cillizza might quite accurately argue¬† the issue is not Trump’s choice of language but his guiding philosophy on immigration reform, which the president himself has stated (and correctly so) is all but dead. But for Cillizza to say this while is his own news agency is using the phrase in almost every headline and weblink is, at best, evidence he is losing the argument amongst his colleagues.

Two of the major political movies of the season focus on the FBI agent that helped bring down Richard Nixon and the brave newspaper reporters and editors who took on the Nixon administration in the Pentagon Papers case. The connection to Trump isn’t very hard to make.

Even an in-depth article on the mental health of our president of the last half-century focuses exclusively on the Republican holders of the office and not their Democratic counterparts (though with Nixon, there’s plenty of ammunition there). If we are talking capacity to serve effectively in office, stroke victim Woodrow Wilson and dying leader Franklin D. Roosevelt, both Democrats, may fall out of the time frame but should be part of any discussion that is truly non-partisan and well-rounded.

Whether all this is a coordinated effort between the entertainment industry and the news media to craft the opening argument in a hoped-for impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump may be something Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files might be better suited to investigate, these birds of an ideological feather do seem to be flocking together.

It might surprise some that biased news coverage is nothing new. Horace Greeley was a Republican kingmaker in the middle 1800s (and tried, unsuccessfully to become its king in 1872) and William Randolph Hearst famously told Frederic Remington in 1897, “You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.” A year later, the USS Maine sunk in Havana harbor and the Cuban-American War was on.

So, assuming MSNBC and and to a lesser degree CNN, are in the anti-Trump camp and Fox News and Drudge Report are in the pro-Trump camp, the President can’t simply tweet away and assume there will be no consequences. Sure, one could argue that the feuding partisan media has lit the fire, but Trump would rather throw gasoline than water or sand on the blaze.

And his tirades about the how the “fake news” brigade that is out to get him and thus should be hobbled has become so commonplace that even members of his own party are taking him to task.

So, in this “exhausting” year of press wars and party wars (and in Hawaii, faux nuclear wars), one wonders where we can go to find an organization that will “afflict the comfortable” on both sides.

Apparently, the only people up for that job work at Saturday Night Live.

Joke all you want, but they have made some pointed critiques on both sides. The only argument against adding them to the White House Press Corps is that they would make fun of the President on a regular basis. But, if we’re going to be honest, the traditional news media already has that beat well covered.

At least with SNL, the writers are making us laugh along the way.

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