The Press Responds with Extreme Concern as Last Line of Public Defense Against Trump’s Lawlessness
Media reporters have frequently panned Donald Trump ever since he announced his presidential campaign way back in 2015, and oftentimes for good reason. While many in the public like to play coy, find loopholes, and forgive the controversial President for his past and present wrongs, the objective press have done their job from day one, covering the Trump campaign and administration in nonpartisan print, for the most part, mirroring the facts on the ground.
All throughout the sexual allegations, the Mueller Report debacle, tax evasion accusations, and more, Trump has managed to weasel his way out of facing consequences and the press has dutifully reported on each occasion with measured impartiality. Bending over backwards, as it were, even as he attacked with cries of “fake news” and even singled out individual reports for his ire.
By 2017 the word “lie” in describing the, well, lies of Trumps tweets and speeches became commonplace. There was little alternative language that would suffice.
Recently, however, ever since the Senate acquitted Trump during the impeachment trial, there has been a second change in the press’ language and a shift in the media zeitgeist.
Because all evidence pointed to Trump’s guilt in soliciting election interference from Ukraine, yet he still got off scot free, many reporters are taking on a new, quasi-apocalyptic tone. According to several journalists, academics, writers, and theorists, Trump’s recent acquittal is the final straw, placing the United States in an unprecedented state of post-law politics that demands a call-to-action.
In “How far will you go to save our democracy from Donald Trump?” in Daily Kos the spectre of Tump refusing to accept the outcome of an election he loses is explored:
So then what? What if Trump loses the election, refuses to leave, and the GOP doesn’t make him? Can you imagine a scenario where Trump loses the popular vote AND the Electoral College, yet is still in office after a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court? What would you do in this case? I am seriously asking YOU: Then what?
Trump has the GOP in his back pocket it seems, as all Republican Senators except Utah’s Mitt Romney defended him at the impeachment. Afraid to side with Democrats or damage their political careers, Republicans are essentially making Trump untouchable, prioritizing politics over morals and placing the President above the law.
Due to Trump’s political record of successfully bypassing legal boundaries, reporters are starting to question where the buck stops. If Republicans won’t reprimand Trump even when the evidence is glaring, then how far is the he able to go? If the Senate and House will protect Trump at all odds, then checks and balances become futile and American Democracy gets deformed.
Even well known outlets such as Salon.com are weighing in at this critical juncture in a way that goes beyond any previous level of alarm – and, bear in mind, Salon has been publishing since 1994 and was named by Time magazine one of the Best Web Sites of 1996.
In the recent Salon.com article “This isn’t an election: It’s a civil war, and our side isn’t necessarily winning” the venerated digital media outlet’s Lucian K. Truscott IV did not mince words:
…Trump also learned from Roy Cohn that you can steal stuff in plain sight and get away with it if you just say “Fuck you” loudly and often enough. I think that’s what Trump is doing to the whole country. He’s saying, “Fuck you. I never believed in your democracy, I never believed in your capitalism, I never believed in your establishment, and look what I did! I got elected president! Fuck you! I’m going to take everything I want! I’m going to fly Air Force One anywhere I want, and I’m going to play golf more often than Arnie Palmer, and I’m going to bellow racism and lies at my rallies, and I’m going to jack up the Secret Service for rooms at my resorts, and I’m not going to pay a fucking cent and what are you going to do about it? I’m going to call Vladimir Putin on the phone and I’m going to get him to help me steal another election, and fuck you.”
That’s Trump’s philosophy in a nutshell: do whatever you want and say “Fuck you.” He’s getting away with it the same way he got away with stiffing contractors and welching on bank loans and going into bankruptcy and taking out more loans and when they come due saying “Fuck you.”
-LUCIAN K. TRUSCOTT IV
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. He can be followed on Facebook at The Rabbit Hole and on Twitter @LucianKTruscott.
Many now fear a Trump dictatorship built from chaos and lawlessness. Especially with the 2020 Election on the horizon, Trump has been quipping about the prospect of never leaving office—something that is obviously illegal in America and more fit for a monarchy. He is likely just saying this to enliven his followers and ruffle the media’s feathers. However, democracies have crumbled many times in the past and Trump has defied the Constitution enough times already, so who’s to say he won’t do it again?
Here’s an excerpt from “The Atlantic”:
One of Trump’s former confidants, Michael Cohen, has suggested that Trump won’t leave. In his congressional testimony before heading to prison, Trump’s former attorney said, “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”
Likewise, with the high turnover of people within Trump’s cabinet, the media is picking up on yet another domineering trend in the current presidency—whenever someone even hints at betraying the Commander in Chief, he or she ends up fired.
This manifested itself most recently with Trump’s removal of Joseph Maguire form the Director of National Intelligence position. On February 13th, Maguire found evidence that Russia planned to interfere with the 2020 election and briefed his findings to the president. All this was part of Maguire’s job, but Trump threw an enraged fit in response and ended up kicking Maguire out for good.
Perhaps MSNBC reporter Rachel Maddow summarized the state of the nation best in saying “The dark days are not coming, the dark days are here.”
Excerpt form her MSNBC show:
“This is not a warning. The dark days are not coming. The dark days are here, And so those of us who have imagined times like this for our country. You know, who might have thought that heroic thing for us to do as citizens if our country ever took these turns would be to sound the alarm, to articulate what’s wrong with the direction our country is taking and to warn people about where it’s heading.
For those of us who thought that would be the kind of heroism called for, we were wrong. Because at least now that’s no longer the form of heroism that we need. That time is past. These guys are not sneaking around trying to get away with stuff, and the heroism is catching them and telling people what they’re doing. They are proclaiming openly that the rules gone, they will do what they want, the government will be turned against you if you stand against this president. That is not a warning. That is where we are. And so what do we do?”
Waiting idly as Trump’s dangerous behavior and actions are framed as mere potential is no longer an option for the press. Reporters have an obligation to remain impartial, but they also have an obligation to tell the truth, and when America’s democracy is in jeopardy, the truth can often come off as more theatrical and incredible than any dodgy, downplayed professional omission ever could.
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