Dear Donald
Dear Donald

The Press Isn't the Problem

by Sam Fogleman 2 years ago in opinion

Trump's actions reveal more than any media coverage ever could.

The Press Isn't the Problem

Hurling derogatory generalizations at the American press, heaping large amounts of hyperbole on agendas of all sorts, and outright lying when it’s most convenient have become common practices among President Donald Trump and his defenders. At campaign rallies like the one he held in Arizona (in the eighth month of his first year, mind you), Trump plays all the hits and projects himself as the savior of whomever “real” Americans are supposed to be. Trump and his base can blame dishonest and biased media coverage all they want for whatever slights they believe they are bearing, but a truly well-informed electorate is one whose citizens cull a number of information sources of all stripes and watch their leader's actions to see who he truly is.

To wit:

This President has a recorded history of being directly involved with racial discrimination going back to his work with his family’s New York and Cincinnati properties in the 60s and 70s (which certainly puts his use of the phrase "our people" into a different perspective). More recently, Trump has, at the very least, shown support for the messages of hate groups such as the Neo-Nazis, whose predecessors America’s Greatest Generation fought so valiantly against in World War II. To normalize historically destructive views and make those who oppose that message sound just as morally bereft is nothing short of repugnant, and it disrespects the efforts of every American who contributed to the cause of wiping out Adolf Hitler’s movement along with those who are fighting the same hateful rhetoric today.

This President has committed to deporting DACA-protected residents of the United States, people who contribute to their communities and the American economy in countless positive ways. His heartlessness at forcing a new life in a strange place on hundreds of thousands of people reveals that he is unwilling to consider human costs when it comes to politics. Trump and his cabal of ultra-rich cronies have shown themselves to be perfectly willing to sacrifice the human and civil rights of positive contributors to our society (many of whom would willingly accept citizenship) while turning a deaf ear on values such as compassion and empathy. His pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man whose racist and unconstitutional practices are strikingly inhumane, gives credence to arguments about Trump's cultural loyalties. Lump all of that in with Betsy DeVos’s attempts to bolster the for-profit college industry and tear down Title IX protections, and you can see that this is an administration that values economics and bigotry over the well-being of all of its people.

This President, with the help of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a man who also has a documented history of racism, has revived the unwinnable War on Drugs by moving to reinstate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses. In doing so, he is restocking already overfilled prisons, many of which are privately-run and currently seeing enormous boosts in profits, a fact that says more about the American penal system than its citizens' levels of criminality. This promotion of incarceration as a business venture flies in the face of the idea of prisoner rehabilitation and eventual readmittance as a contributing member to society; and at the same time, imprisoning more people just to turn a bigger profit is a fairly reprehensible way to make a buck.

This President has often indulged in “alternative facts” or “truthful hyperbole,” a term he coined in his book The Art of the Deal thirty years ago. Take, for example, his assertions that his inauguration was the most well-attended in history (it wasn’t), that he actually won the popular vote (he didn’t), that Trump Tower was bugged by Obama (proven false), and that the number of Anti-Trump protesters outside his events is smaller than is ever reported (it never is).

This President has employed means commonly used throughout history to stifle the press, all the while trying to keep the electorate generally uninformed ("I love the poorly educated!") and funneling to journalists misleading information which relies heavily on misdirection, exaggeration, outright lies, and carefully crafted propaganda to bolster a destructive agenda.

This President has at various times said disparaging things about women, African-Americans, Latinos, and the disabled, all while preaching about being a “unifier” and the head of “a movement built on love.” Contrast this with his numerous statements urging his supporters to physically assault dissenters in the crowd (and numerous other examples) and his promotion of “love of everyone” is clearly laughable.

This President has waged an internal war on this country’s stunning natural lands. He is gutting the Environmental Protection Agency and threatening the beauty of America by installing Scott Pruitt, a corporate protectionist, as its head. Trump has dismantled scientific boards which are providing valuable climate data and studies. His cancellation of the US’ participation in the Paris Climate Accord was nearsighted and reactionary. He is putting pristine outdoor areas at risk by giving his blessing to new oil pipelines that threaten drinking water and destroy and belittle the landscapes through which they run, and that’s not even mentioning the further damage done to indigenous peoples who, let’s face it, have already suffered enough. Trump has also begun shifting our energy dependencies back to destructive fossil fuels, at a time when clean and renewable energy alternatives are cheaper and more efficient than ever.

This President has threatened to bring “fire and fury” to a downtrodden, starving, and oppressed population in North Korea, which suffers from famine and torture under the thumb of a violent dictator. To threaten some of the weakest among humanity with destruction is the strategy of despots and sociopaths, some of whom (Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Rodrigo Duterte, etc) Trump has lauded, giving us a transparent window to his true and ghoulish nature.

This President has attempted to quash dissent by citizens, employing his Justice Department to request that an internet hosting company turn over information about people who visited a website on which some of those visitors organized Trump counter-protests. This Orwellian attempt at surveillance of the opposition is frightening, a severe overreach of governmental power, and threatens United States citizens’ constitutional right to free assembly. Should disapproval of Trump continue to grow, this would not likely be the last time this administration launches such an attack, which sounds like a horrifying echo from times past. In conjunction, Trump has allowed the reinstitution of the government's initiative to militarily arm local law enforcement with equipment like rocket launchers, riot gear, and assault vehicles. The Stanford Prison Experiment has proven that police with military options are nothing more than hammers looking for nails, something they already do with lethal impertinence.

This President has shown severe lapses in eloquence when not reading from already prepared speeches. He lacks a command of language, and his impulsive temper has weakened him in his attempts at diplomacy, as evidenced by his bumbling telephone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia. In addition, he has suffered from memory lapses, forgetting to sign bills at multiple ceremonies and walking away from his Presidential limo, which was right in front of him on an airport tarmac. If simple skills like language and, well, not wandering off are a struggle for Trump, one can only wonder how lost he is when it comes to complicated policy decisions that affect us all.

These reasons to oppose Trump’s awful presidency are not cherry-picked from a leftist-leaning media; rather they are measured responses to his speeches and actions over his first eight months using simple human reasoning, common sense, and decency. If more of our citizens would take it upon themselves to be thoroughly informed and think through their opinions about their leaders, rather than being spoon-fed media stories from administration mouthpieces containing plenty of confirmation bias, there is a chance that we might just make it through this term in one piece.

All of this is to say that it's not the media who are at fault for Trump's troubled mind, though they aren't perfect by any means. Just remember that this is a man who once categorically stated on the record that "For the most part, you can't respect people because most people aren't worthy of respect." A sad statement from a despicable man who doesn't deserve the honor of being President.

Sam Fogleman
Sam Fogleman
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Sam Fogleman

Nomad, bookworm, idea man

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