Remember the debate among journalists a few months back over whether to call Donald Trump’s falsehoods “lies?” Was he really trying to mislead? Was his intent to deceive? It all seems so quaint now, more than 10,000 lies later. The question isn’t whether Donald Trump will lie again but when. If past is prologue we won’t have to wait long for another.
Now there seems to be a collective navel gazing in newsrooms over whether Trump’s “go back to where you came from” line directed at women with a different skin color than his is actually racist. Dear fellow journalists, let us save you some time. It’s blatantly racist and it’s not by accident. This is racism as strategy, a blueprint for bigotry.
And until someone figures out a different way to cover how the President of the United States, we, the press and the public, will continue to be masterfully played by a propagandist.
Take a step back from the shouting and finger pointing and look at the end result. Trump says something outlandish, which is (over) covered. Then, reaction pours in to the outlandishness, and Trump gets two campaign commercials for the price of one. But it’s actually worse than that. Toss in social media and Fox & Friends and suddenly he’s rekindled the smoldering ashes of hate into a bonfire.
The weekend was dominated by coverage of massive, pending ICE raids. Thousands of dangerous criminals were being deported. Wait, what happened to those raids? Doesn’t matter because Trump generated something more important than immigration to him. Massive amounts of free airtime. The busts were a bust, but who cares?
This is Donald Trump unfiltered. All those advisors who once whispered in his ear are long gone.
Now, he’s going with his gut, and his gut says racism sells. But don’t think for a second there’s not a method behind this madness.
This post contains analysis and opinion.