Keeping the Media Complicit
While Allsides.com rates the New York Times columnist David Leonhardt as a writer who “leans Left,” he is by no means a flaming liberal. If he “leans Left” it is from a firm position in the Center. Leonhardt writes columns that are intelligent, informative, and acquits himself as an honest broker on political issues. His Wednesday, October 9th Opinion piece (Entitled: “Wow. This letter is bananas.”) discusses the Trump team’s letter to Congress claiming the impeachment inquiry is somehow “illegitimate.”
Leonhardt quotes a former Republican Senate Judiciary staff member (and lawyer), Gregg Nunziata, making the “bananas” statement about the Trump letter. He goes on to describe it as:
A barely-lawyered temper tantrum. A middle finger to Congress and its oversight responsibilities. No Member of Congress should accept it, no matter his or her view on the behavior of Pelosi, Schiff, or Trump.
As Leonhardt clearly notes: “The Constitution gives Congress the right to pursue impeachment. . . . by pretending otherwise, Trump is making a bet.” And that bet is highly important for all citizens to take note of. Aside from Trump betting the Republican Party and their Members of both Houses of Congress will support him, “He’s betting that the media won’t be able to resist framing this story as ‘Both sides have a legitimate argument.’” (italics & bold, mine) Trump is looking at his history with the “Lamestream Media” and recognizing that he has, in fact, gotten away with everything but the murder on Fifth Avenue he claimed he could get away with.
If we go back to the Fall of 2016, just when the Access Hollywood pussy-grabbing tape and the Stormy Daniels revelations were hitting the news, the media had no problem pivoting to anti-Hillary coverage based on James Comey’s questionable statement, illustrating their belief that “Both sides have a legitimate argument.” Fast forwarding to the Charlottesville White Supremacist riot, in which Heather Heyer was killed, the Media once again seemed to agree with Trump that there were, indeed, “good people on both sides,” a variation of “Both sides have a legitimate argument.” (The larger argument there, of course, was the removal of Confederate statues and an attempt at ridding our public spaces from glorifying traitors and slaveowners --- Both sides have a legitimate argument? Really?) In fact, all of Trump’s “signature” policies have failed to muster an outcry, much less outrage, from the Media --- which still seems to believe they are working with a “normal” President.
Consider the following: Environmental policies and Climate-change denial? No outcry. The Border Wall and inhumane detention policies? “Both sides have a legitimate argument.” HUGE tax-cuts for our wealthiest citizens, at the expense of the working class? “Both sides, etc.” Brett Kavanaugh’s suitability for the Supreme Court? “Both sides, etc.” China is paying the tariffs in this Trade War? That’s simply a LIE and the media FAILS, on a daily basis, to bring it to the attention of the American public.
It is apparent that Trump believes he can just continue his over-the-top destructive behavior and get away with it because the Media has totally failed to live up to their responsibility of checking (and balancing?) an authoritarian Presidency (we’re well past Nixon’s “Imperial Presidency” at this point). Based on some bizarre notion that they be “objective” the Media has become a Complicit Tool of a Master Con Man.
I lived in New York City in the late 80’s and early ‘90s and again in mid-Aughts to 20-teens of this century. No one in NYC was buying Trump’s bullshit then (or now). The newspapers that saw him as an overblown clown during those years, however, have somehow pivoted now that he is President, deciding “Both sides have a legitimate argument.” It wasn’t true when he was a blowhard Real Estate shyster and it’s not true now that he’s President. There are not legitimate arguments on both sides! The Media continues to coddle Trump, claiming they are “objective” in their reporting. The fact that the various print media and the broadcast networks (CNN, MSNBC, et al) are not Fox News does not mean they are exercising the kind of scrutiny and hard-hitting reporting necessary to keep this President’s feet to the fire.
Even now, with the Ukraine revelations and the hideous pivot in Syria, creating another potential humanitarian crisis (maybe worse than the one at our Southern border), Trump will dance around, lie, lie, lie, and claim, somehow, he is a victim, persecuted by the “lamestream media” and “Socialists” in the Democratic Party. Trump is like Joe McCarthy on steroids --- more corrupt and more sinister. Until our Media begins to sit up and do its job he will continue to run roughshod over our democratic institutions and steal another election.