Trump’s Televised Puppet Show

If Donald Trump wins the presidency he better give every major network host a front row seat at his inauguration. It is the least he could do.

For months now they have eaten out of his hands like a puppy in pursuit of a Beggin’ Strip.  They repeat his vociferous accusations, his vulgar quips, his insults, and his lies.  They provide the hot air for every single ludicrous trial balloon he floats.

Seriously, does the truth even matter anymore? Does good journalism?

On February 22, Trump re-tweeted an allegation that Marco Rubio was not eligible for the presidency because his parents were immigrants.  It was outrageous, egregious, and preposterous.  

Yet all day on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, every single anchor drank the Kool-Aid, attached their puppet strings, and led with the “Is Marco Eligible” story hour after hour.  This wasn’t only done by antagonistic hosts like Joe Scarborough but by “respected journalists” like Andrea Mitchell.

I honestly do not get it.  In no way shape or form was this news.  It was an outright cheap shot and yet every major network gave it credence when they covered it with 1000% more seconds of airtime than it deserved.  A 15-second review of the account of the original tweeter @ResisTyr would reveal that Trump was quoting a Tea Party wacko, not a vetted political scientist.

But you’re right, maybe that is too much to ask of a major network.

These same people wonder how Trump manages to stay at the top of the polls.  This is precisely how.  As Newt Gingrich pointed out so astutely on Fox and Friends the other morning: “Look, {it is} because of you guys. Donald Trump gets up in the morning, tweets to the entire planet at no cost, picks up the phone, calls you, has a great conversation for about eight minutes, which would have cost him a ton in commercial money, and meanwhile his opponents are all out there trying to raise the money to run an ad. Nobody believes the ad.”

To further this point, a few months ago Trump phoned in to CNN and stated that the reason he says outrageous things is solely to remain in the headlines.  Host Carol Costello stared blankly back at him as she is wont to do, letting Trump’s admission that he was using her as a puppet fly right over her head.

Over the next few months he has proceeded to say outrageous thing after outrageous thing, and do you know what happened?  Every morning Costello leads the A-block of CNN’s Newsroom with “Donald Trump says…”

The journalistic argument is that there is an obligation to cover the front runner, but I don’t buy that for one second.  From the day Trump descended down his escalator to declare his candidacy, the media hasn’t looked away.  But staring is about the extent of their efforts.

They haven’t analyzed, they haven’t dug, they haven’t questioned.  They have just blindly regurgitated every last word that has come out of his mouth.  Even when they do push back on his claims, it is with barely enough force to move a feather.

The Huffington Post once made a noble attempt at addressing the Trump problem by promising to cover his candidacy in their entertainment section.  But alas, as with every high school kid who claims they won’t drink, after missing out on all the fun week after week, they too found themselves standing around chugging a Trump Lite.

But the truth is, Trump really isn’t entertainment.  His candidacy is scary and threatening to the American tradition in so many ways.

At a rally in Vermont, Trump kicked out protesters while shouting instructions to deny them their jackets so they would learn their lesson standing jacket-less in the frigid Vermont air.  And then in Nevada he said he wished a protester harm to the point that he would have to “leave on a stretcher.”  And do you know what the media did?  They chuckled and dismissed it as just Trump being Trump.

As it has become painstakingly obvious that the Trump bubble isn’t going to burst anytime time soon, the media has an obligation to treat him the same way they would have treated Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

Stop reporting his tweets like breaking news and giving legs to stories that are more deserving of being ignored like body odor in an elevator.  Stop airing every single one of his rallies live as if it were Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate.  Stop laughing at his antics that are an embarrassment to American democracy.

This is someone campaigning to be the president of the United States.  The highest, most respected, and honorable office in the world.  We are supposed to be the nation of freedom, of compassion, of caring, and of goodwill.  Trump’s nasty and mean-spirited campaign is more befitting of an African dictator than a major party candidate in the United States and it’s high time the national media stopped treating it as a joke.

 

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