Kenneth Kelly, Columnist
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah famously asked: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?” His question was rhetorical and commonly implies that a person can’t change their essential nature. This saying, however, is lost on contemporary media, both print and cable, for they continuously expect President Donald Trump to act in a way that is contrary to both his nature, the method of his campaign, and the promises made on the campaign trail. They expect Trump to act “presidential,” yet the problem with their expectation, great as it may be, is that there is no objective definition of what it means to be “presidential,” just opinion.
So, their collective shock and awe at what the president does, or how the president does it, or what the president alleges, is a bit too genteel and contrived. Smart people write for papers and serve as cable news anchors, and while they may understand Jeremiah’s statement intellectually, they struggle with practicality of it. This leads me to believe that it wasn’t only Hilary Clinton and the Democrats who lost an election, the media majority lost one too. Realistically, the majority of print and cable media outlets firmly believed that Trump was a sort of a circus buffoon who would never win a national election, but he did, and to date, they have not gotten over it. While penitentially self-effacing immediately after Trump’s win, the media has gone right back to the liberal elitism that they know so well, are accused of so often, and deny so vehemently.
There can be no doubt that Trump is no friend of the First Amendment, except for those occasions when it benefits him. There can also be no doubt that Trump is no friend of the press, which he seems to excoriate daily.
The press however portrays itself as a sort vestal virgin: innocent, pure as the driven snow, only wanting the best for the American people, only interested in the “truth,” a bulwark against the tyranny of Sean Spicer, and standing-as Superman once did-for “truth, justice, and the American way.”
The only “person” who has a more inflated ego than Trump, is American media, with its bloated sense of self-worth. It presumes a lie: that truth matters more than profit. Despite what is often said about Trump in the media, he has been a boon for their fiscal bottom lines, to say nothing of ratings. Wolf Blitzer, for example, can say “stand-by” exponentially more times now, than he ever could under Pres. Obama. Punditry has become de rigueur, “panels of experts” now rivals “binders full of women,” Moscow has almost become a destination vacation spot, and no doubt Vladimir Putin will soon be on a US stamp.
David may have taken a sling and killed Goliath, but the press has no intention of slaying this giant-despite what they say-he generates too much income.
The absurdity of the press is that they try to beat Trump with “truth,” they haven’t realized yet that you can never beat an intransigent populist. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank remarks on Trump’s ignorance, mediocrity, and mendacity with an almost religious fervor, but to what end? Does he think Trump supporters read the Washington Post, much less his column? And what did he expect from a man who said over and over again that he was not a politician? A man who said he was going to change how Washington does business (which is yet to be proven)? What Milbank and others like him can’t understand is that real estate mogul Donald J. Trump is the same Donald J. Trump who now occupies the Oval Office.
The press, who gave candidate Trump more free press coverage than any other presidential candidate in modern history, should understand this. They heard, they saw, they reported, they carried his speeches, they allowed his surrogates to be part of their “expert panels,” yet they act like a person who has just had sex, and wondered how it is that they lost their virginity.
Enough with the “truth.”
Enough with the “breaking news.”
Enough with the word “unprecedented.”
Enough with the absurd “scoops.”
Enough with the chest thumping——-CNN!
And enough with the expectation that leopards can suddenly become zebras—you’re making the “news” about you, and that simply is not your job.
I’m interested in the direction the country is heading, what’s going on with international relations, where those steel jobs are that were promised to the city of Johnstown, what about North Korea-are we going to war? What about the Trump/Ryan Care? To be perfectly honest, I don’t care how beat-up the media feels, I don’t care how “mean” Sean Spicer is, how many lies Kellyanne Conway can tell, how hurt Jake Tapper may be, or how ignorant Milbank believes the president is.
I care about what’s happening to the country, and that, media friends, is your responsibility, anything else is distraction, or hubris.
Report the news, and save your hurt feelings and bruised egos for your favorite bartender.
I’ll even buy the first round.