Our Reality TV president just released the latest episode of his long-running soap opera “Chopper Talk” (or more accurately “Whopper Talk”) wherein Donald Trump swaggers pompously before an assemblage of reporters as he ostensibly responds to questions with “answers” that, more often than not, ignore the reporter’s inquiry. His strained and frequently incoherent responses range from awkward deflections to outright lies. It’s a circus of self-serving propaganda that has no journalistic value whatsoever.
There are many reasons that the press needs to stop covering these slack-jawed sideshows live. They provide almost nothing useful for viewers. Even worse, as Media Matters reports, is that Fox news continues to air all of Trump’s cult rallies live. CNN has cut back almost entirely, airing only ten minutes this year. MSNBC aired none of them.
However, there is one thing that comes from these loopy press avails. They allow a pathological liar to disgorge uninterrupted rants that sound very much like the schizophrenic on the street corner shouting epithets at passing cars. And in Friday’s instalment (video below) Trump was in rare form, excreting nonsense like a haywire word-salad shooter. Just a few of Trump’s fact-challenged falsehoods include…
“Adam Schiff is a corrupt politician. He’s corrupt. He made up a speech, and he put my voice in it.”
FALSE: Schiff merely paraphrased Trump and prefaced his remarks by saying explicitly that they were the “essence” of what Trump said, not a verbatim quote.
“Everyone of those people testified absolutely fine for me. […] You know I don’t even know most of these people. Many of these people I’ve never even heard of.”
FALSE: Most of the people Trump is talking about were appointed by him or by those he appointed. This is a common tactic that he uses to pretend he doesn’t know anyone who criticizes him. What Trump wants you to believe is that he never heard of his National Security Council Russia advisor Fiona Hill, his NSC Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman, his Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sonderland, his Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, his Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, and his Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. If he really doesn’t know these high-level White House staffers, that’s just more proof that he’s unfit to serve.
“We are winning so big. My polls are the highest they’ve ever been. I’m leading in all of the swing states.”
And then there’s this: Trump unleashes a bizarre and incoherent rant that meanders from one subject to another without ever approaching reality. But he does manage to threaten to sue the whistleblower’s attorney of treason (which is ludicrous because you can’t sue for treason).
“The whistleblower, I call him the fake whistleblower. He gave a fake report of my phone call. And when I released that call, all of a sudden everybody disappeared. The whistleblower disappeared. What ever happened to the second whistleblower? Why isn’t the first whistleblower gonna testify anymore? You know why? Because everything he wrote in that report almost was a lie. Because he made a phony phone call. My phone call was perfect. He made it sound bad. That’s why I had to release. So the whistleblower is a disgrace to our country. And the whistleblower because of that should be revealed. And his lawyer, who said the worst things possible two years ago, he should be sued. And maybe for treason.
HUH? The whistleblower hasn’t disappeared. His/her identity is still under wraps, despite the efforts of right-wing media, including Fox News, who have offered up a name of someone they can’t confirm is really the whistleblower. And Trump’s “transcript” of his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky actually confirms the account by the whistleblower, making him/her irrelevant. But Trump’s reckless charges of treason demonstrate why truth tellers in government need the protection of whistleblower status.
The only benefit that can be derived from these demented outbursts is that they are further evidence that Trump is a severely disturbed psychotic who presents a clear and present danger to the nation. The media has a responsibility to refrain from airing his ravings live. They have nothing to lose by reviewing the video and airing it twenty minutes later with added context and fact-checking. And if they don’t take that simple step they are aiding and abetting Trump’s deranged campaign of propaganda and lies. That is dangerous and contrary to the mission of the free press and ethical journalism.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.