Donald Trump is sort of like the Peanuts character, Pig-Pen he walks around with a cloud of lies and corruption following him around which also engulfs those who work closely with him.
The media’s problem from the beginning was that they just couldn’t believe it. No one could lie so much and so bigly, no one could be so openly racist and sexist, no one could genuinely attack our American institutions of law and order and democracy. It can’t be the way things really are.
There has been a very slow learning curve for the media, they have come around to recognizing that, yes, Trump is indeed all of these horrible and hard-to-believe things. While it is affirming to see media folks openly and factually call Trump a liar, a racist and an adulterer, there are still times when they are so incredulous about an offensive or ignorant statement by Trump that they purposely leap over the truth it affirms to “impartially” muse, “What does it mean?”
As Freud once said, “Sometimes a sociopath is just a sociopath.” Or something like that.
Through the campaign and his time in the White House, we have lived with Trump for over two years (that’s a disturbing thought). We know exactly who he is and what his motivations are (mostly a mix of racism, narcissism, insecurity, chauvinism and a cup of authoritarianism thrown in). So when those in the news media respond to something he’s said with a question that overlooks the obvious and proven truths about Trump in search of some other, more normal answer, they do everyone including themselves a disservice (not to mention the work they impose on many Americans who have to keep cleaning off their tv screen from the avocado toast they’ve thrown at it).
The message here to the media is, quit playing dumb. Accept what is obviously true about Trump and stop asking “neutral” or fair” questions about what he says and does in the pursuit of appearing impartial. Please, no more labored denials of the self-apparent. The news is supposed to share truths, not stridently avoid truths when they think it might make them look partisan. The media’s nailbiting over looking unbiased is unimportant compared with being unbiased and honest. Truth isn’t partisan, the truth is for everyone whether they want it or watch Fox News.
To address this, following is a list of the top five questions the media should stop asking because the truth is obvious and any doubts are a contrivance to appear “balanced”.
The Top Five Questions The Media Needs to Stop Asking About Trump
1. “Why won’t Trump acknowledge that Russians interfered in our elections?”
Because it’s not in his interest to attack his ally when he wants them to help him in his re-election. All U.S. intelligence agencies affirm that Russia attacked and is attacking our country and democracy. Vladimir Putin and Russia supported Trump’s candidacy and helped him win in 2016 through cyber attacks and bot farms. Trump wants them to be free to interfere again and help him win in 2020. Secondarily, he likely feels that admitting Russia tipped the scales for him in his election will make him appear illegitimate…which he actually is (people don’t fear things they don’t believe in).
2. “Is Trump racist?”
Yes he is. He has openly complimented Nazis, smeared most minorities and embraced white nationalists. He has never said a positive thing about a minority unless they’ve toadied for him. Next?
3. “Does Trump believe the women who speak out about being assaulted by men?”
Yes, because he knows the truth about the 19 women accusing him of sexual assault (20 including Ivana Trump who stated he raped her). The real question is, “Why won’t he admit it?” Trump doesn’t want to be seen by the public as the serial sexual assaulter he is and he appears to believe that validating women’s statements in any other case validates the charges against him. He’s also a chauvinist who confessed in the Access Hollywood tape that he sees women as lesser than men and deserving of abuse. So he weasels out of it all by cautioning the public not to rush to judgement and ruin a man’s life over “accusations”…the life of a heinous, violent, sexually assaulting man, that is. While Trump remains entitled to ruin the lives of FBI officials, Democrats, immigrants and of course, women (he smeared all the women who came out against him as liars and frauds).
4. “Is Trump religious?”
After consulting “Two Corinthians”, no. Never. Not at all. He never regularly attended church, commits all of the deadly sins and discovered some new ones. He just claims to have faith to pander to the evangelical Christians because he badly needs and depends on support from extremists and sees that they are as unprincipled as he is.
5. “Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia?”
Hmm…they’ve already admitted to 31 interactions and 19 meetings including the quid pro quo Trump Tower meeting with Russian agents by Don Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner. Can Robert Mueller prove a criminal act of conspiracy in court against Trump? Only Mueller knows that but anyone who can read or listen should know that it is indisputable that the Trump Campaign colluded with Russia (his lawyers have even argued that collusion with Russia isn’t illegal…why would they argue that if he didn’t collude?).
Our news media needs to stop asking questions that they know aren’t questions anymore. It’s anti-truth to question facts that are known. The media shouldn’t worry about people complaining if they stop feigning ignorance as a ploy to appear impartial. Any complainers aren’t watching or reading them anyway, they’re only watching Fox News and believing in conspiracy theories that they represent as facts and never question. Fox News doesn’t ask questions about their phony stories and propaganda, the MSM need not ask questions about obvious and proven facts about Trump.
Just because a proven truth is outrageous, it doesn’t mean that it should be questioned.
Any and all questions seem pointless imho because from the door, I have always believed dtrump was nothing more than a front man and I believe that even more today. The machine behind him are the real enemies of democracy, not this infant who would have difficult spelling democracy. So, I don’t waste any time whatsoever listening to whatever crawls out of his mouth.
why would I? Learning whose really pulling the strings would be paramount to finding out, definitively and without dispute, who killed JFK!
As for how long he’ll be around…..I’m coming across registration applications (in my work) and a great many are not only republicans, but democrats switching their affiliations to republican and even more astonishing is the many Hispanic voters who are registering and are switching to republican as well.
Of course both parties are corrupt but its interesting how SOME dems for example spend enormous amounts of energy spouting immigration reform, that in fact seems all their wiling to support, and the very folks their supposedly trying to help are appearing to be fleeing the party in great number. Perhaps Nancy and Kamala aren’t getting the emails but I meanwhile find it amusing.
VB, agreed that anything Trump spews is garbage and deserves no attention or respect. To those who have the ability to reason, it’s so obvious that he’s a transparent con man/narcissist/sociopath. But for about 1/3 of Americans, made up of the racist, the greedy and most prevalent, the ignorant, he represents the strongman dictator they want wreaking havoc on the country and world that they blame for their own failure in life.
Who’s pulling the strings? Seems pretty apparent, someone who shirtlessly rides Trump and likes vodka. Putin has to have Trump under his thumb, whether it’s the pee tape, money laundering, it’s something pretty heavy and Trump dances like a puppet for Putin to protect himself. His refusing to condemn Russia or defend America from this ongoing attack is absolute proof.
As for switching affiliations, I’d have to say that what you’re seeing isn’t being reflected across the nation. Dems are winning elections in red states and districts which could only happen with Repubs crossing over to vote for the Dems.
Overall Repub identification has been declining as “normal” Repubs are abandoning the party of Trump.
As for Latinos supporting Trump, it was kind of mind boggling to see that in 2016 he won slightly more a percentage of them than Romney. White people aren’t the only ones who blindly vote against their own interests. Hard to believe that Latino support of Trump is increasing though. I have seen some unbalanced Republican Latinos frothing about undocumented workers in the country and loving Trump for attacking them, the nasty mentality of pulling the ladder up after them that many RWs exhibit.
Maybe his pandering to the RW evangelicals and his authoritarianism appeals to some of them?
Still, my bet is that a higher percentage of Latino voters in Nov will support Dems.
Yes, both parties are corrupt but there are many individual Dem pols who have integrity and do work hard for the principles most Americans support.
Ad–Loved your article and your reply to Murph. I would like to add one more question to those the media should stop asking about trump, and you actually revealed it in your last sentence of your reply to Murph. We should all stop asking, “Is this the scandal that will finally bring trump down?” Because, IMO, until we get either Mueller’s indictments or a Democratic Congress, nothing will bring him down. Maybe he will lose some support, but it seems to me, that whenever people try to bring trump to sanity, or to ask, “Is this finally his undoing?” his supporters double down on their support. This vile man will never lose his core supporters, IMO. However, chip, chipping away at any of his support is a good thing.
The other good news is that some republicans in Congress are finally waking up, mostly those who aren’t running again, such as Howdy Gowdy, who has opened hearings on Porter’s security clearance. https://www.bloomberg.com/…/gowdy-opens-congressional-probe-of-trump-ex-aide-s
I do think that this will be another whitewash and trump and his cronies will be excused because they have no government experience. But it IS a beginning.
I agree with your points on the question we repeatedly hear in the MSM, “Is this what will bring Trump down?” Only Mueller, a Dem Congress or…a massive Dem wave in Nov that scares Repubs to flee Trump out of self-preservation.
The fully or less conscious white supremacists and authoritarians who march behind Trump are as convicted as Nazi followers were to their Fuhrer. There is nothing Trump could do to lose their support, maybe aside from him kissing a gay black Muslim abortion doctor.
The Mueller trial against Manafort will come this Summer and I imagine there could be more indictments along the way. No matter what Trump is demagogueing about to rally his brownshirt voters this year, the Mueller prosecutions and indictments will whip up enthusiasm for Dem voters to turn out and discourage some of his base.
I know he’s counting on Russian interference to help him and Repubs this year but I think the Dem wave that’s coming will overwhelm all of that.
Then, with a Dem House, Trump is blocked from doing more profound damage, moderate to Progressive bills can be passed (if not signed) and the investigations into Trump and his criminal enterprise in the WH will kick into high gear. The Repubs built a hollow mountain out of a molehill on Benghazi, Dems will have dense mountains of corruption to mine out of Trump.
And I think Mueller will wait to see if Dems take the House before referring impeachment proceedings to The House because he knows it would be pointless with Repubs in control.
Love your last sentence, Ad. I really hope that’s what Mueller is waiting for, although I’m worried as to how much damage trump can do to our democracy in the meantime.
I know how you feel but as you said, nothing really can stop Trump until the election this Nov.
Unless Mueller wants to try to criminally indict and prosecute Trump. That would be tied up in court for months but if he won, that could remove Trump from office.
If he lost, Trump would probably fire him though.
“If he lost, Trump would probably fire him though.”
This is one of the very best pieces you have written for The Planet in my time. Please republish it widely…..at Yabberz, Daily Kos, at anywhere. This deserves to be passed along very widely.
Your analysis blends political commentary and personality study in a compact and studied fashion.
A brilliant synopsis.
Some other thoughts…..
Sometimes we become involved with disordered personalities because they have a compelling mask of sanity: they hide effectively their deviant natures and abnormal behavior by creating a veneer of uniqueness (“only I can….”)But we’ve also seen that psychopaths and other personality disordered individuals can’t maintain that mask on over extended periods of time for three main reasons:
a) they can’t keep straight all the lies and half-truths they tell us and other people, so inconsistencies and contradictions in their false stories start to become obvious in time (although zealous followers have an amazing capacity for denial and rationalization)
b) they don’t put as much effort into maintaining the false front since our value to them diminishes once the newness wears off and once they’ve gotten some of what they want from us
c) psychopaths and sociopaths form relationships in order to exercise control over others, which can easily turn into increasingly abusive and unequal relationships
It stands to reason that, after the honeymoon phase, something else blinds us to the truth about the psychopath’s/sociopath’s increasingly obvious personality disorder: the power of denial. Sigmund Freud coined the term “denial” to describe a situation when a person is faced with an uncomfortable or difficult to accept fact and denies or rejects it despite all rational evidence that it has occurred.
How often do people involved with psychopaths/sociopaths turn a blind eye to clear evidence of their lying and cheating? How often do they rationalize the psychopath’s wrongdoings, blame it on others, find excuses for it or accept the psychopath’s lies, projection of blame and (false) justifications? The more emotionally invested a victim is in the psychopath and the relationship with him, and the more he has succeeded in isolating her from others, the stronger the power of denial becomes.
What does this denial/rationalization look like?
a) simple denial: refusing to see the psychopath’s wrongdoings and bad character
b) minimization: rationalizing away the importance of the psychopath’s wrongdoings (for instance, by attributing it to his human fallibility, or a simple mistake, or someone else’s bad influence upon him, or inexperience in a certain area or in comparison with “others” who they claim are far, far worse etc.)
In her book Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them, Susan Forward also explains denial in terms of forgrounding and backgrounding of information. When people become invested in a toxic relationship, no matter how much they suffer as a result of their love addiction to a disordered personality, they foreground every positive quality they see in the psychopath and the relationship and relegate to the background all the information that contradicts that rosier picture of reality.
What ends up being in the foreground are subjective, fleeting and superficial impressions which have very little to do with what truly counts in a relationship: character. For those who stay long-term with a psychopath or any other personality disordered individual, character becomes relegated to the background precisely because psychopaths/sociopaths lack character. The only way to put up with the psychopath’s/sociopath’s constant lying, cheating, manipulation, and exercise of dominance over you is to deny the importance of facts that show what he really IS and focus instead on the superficial impressions and fleeting feelings related to the small (and fake) acts of kindness/insight/favor sharing he sometimes DOES. False image becomes more important than real substance.
Psychopaths/sociopaths do their part by doing everything in their power to maintain hold over their victims: by lying to them, by isolating them from others, by intimidating them and by rendering them dependent on them. However, the power of denial with rationalization is the strongest chain that keeps people stuck in a toxic relationship with a person whose evil nature is undeniable.
Thanks so much, Murph, very appreciated!
I don’t know that Trump has a compelling mask of sanity, Trump’s deviancy seems right out there for all to see. Denial is indeed a prerequisite for such a psychopath/sociopath and so is delusion.
I’d even add another diagnosis of Trump, as a completely unqualified person to do so. There is a type of psychopathy/sociopathy that seems very applicable to Trump. In addition to his Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is a dangerous trait, he seems to fit the traits of someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. See what you think:
A big thing that’s disappointing is the attraction that authoritarian narcissists hold for both ignorant and some educated people. They represent to them, in essence, a God type persona who can right all the wrongs…”only I can do this BECAUSE I’m like this.” That is, without conscience or empathy towards democracy, fellow citizens or the legitimacy of opposing points of view.
They want a God/Daddy to just take control of everything and make the world right again. But what is “right”? For many Trump followers, it means getting rid of what makes them insecure about the present and returning to a time of lower class status and oppression for minorities, women, LGTBQ, non-Christians, etc. And secretly, there are many otherwise “normal” white people who woud prefer the days of white superiority and domination in society.
We’re very fortunate Trump isn’t very smart or this could all be far more dangerous. If he was clever enough to have a more subtle and sophisticated con job, he might very well have succeeded in his dictatorial pursuit. As is, his obvious con game has and continues to work well with mostly the ignorant. Con men always pray on the ignorant, whether it’s Three Card Monte or a Nigerian prince’s email, preying on the primal greed of ignorant people to get what they want most is how con men take advantage of people.
The good news is that most Americans see through Trump’s blatant con jobs. The bad news is that around 35% of Americans are rubes (“Rubepublicans”?) who are so easily led around by his holding a carrot in front of their noses that they will chase after but never catch.
The current scandal over Rob Porter could be one that critically injures Trump’s admin and con job. When the curtain is pulled up, even for his supporters, on how Trump and his cronies have been jeopardizing national security and lying so grossly and frequently to cover up their support for a wife beater, at least some of the white women who supported Trump…and may have experienced sexual/violent assaults in their lives, may finally see through the con job of this sociopath.