As Donald Trump warned us all in an ominous Christmas Eve tweet, “Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change.” The truth of that is abundantly evident in the tweets that Trump continues to post in this new year. His fetish for an idiotic vanity wall, that will do nothing but waste money, took up much of Trump’s Saturday morning. And naturally, his whining was filled with lies, insults, and blame for anyone but himself.
However, after his regularly scheduled manic tweetstorm, Trump decided to return to an old favorite obsession, lashing out with his Stalin-inspired portrayal of the press as “the enemy of the people.” In this episode, Trump is caught (again) regurgitating what he just saw on Fox News. He tweeted that:
“Former @NYTimes editor Jill Abramson rips paper's ‘unmistakably anti-Trump’ bias.”
Ms. Abramson is 100% correct. Horrible and totally dishonest reporting on almost everything they write. Hence the term Fake News, Enemy of the People, and Opposition Party!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2019
Of course, that is a wholly dishonest characterization of what Abramson said. And we know this because Abramson tells us herself in this Twitter reply. And she elaborated in an interview with the Associated Press, rebuking Fox News (and by extension, Trump) for having taken her “totally out of context:”
“Jill Abramson, the former editor of The New York Times, said Thursday that Fox News took her criticism of the newspaper’s Trump coverage in her upcoming book ‘totally out of context’ for a story that appeared this week.” […]
“She said in an email interview with The Associated Press that the Fox article’s author, ‘Media Buzz’ host Howard Kurtz, had ignored compliments that she had for the Times and The Washington Post.
“‘His article is an attempt to Foxify my book, which is full of praise for The Times and The Washington Post and their coverage of Trump,’ she wrote in the email.”
So Trump’s tweet unsurprisingly misrepresented the truth. Although, he did say that Abramson was “100% correct,” so presumably that includes her praise for the paper and her remarks that “the depth and intensity of its accountability coverage of Trump ‘was masterful.'” Trump failed to mention that in his tweet.
The problem with reporting on this President is that there is so much negative news that simply being honest and accurate can appear to be biased. But it isn’t the fault of journalists that Trump lies every time he opens his mouth, or that his presidency is rife with corruption and criminal malfeasance. And it isn’t the fault of reporters that Trump’s incoherent press avails sound more like the ravings of a street-walking schizophrenic screaming absurdities at bewildered passersby and the occasionally unfortunate pigeon.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Covering Donald Trump means reporting when he tells lies that have long ago been debunked. It means holding him accountable for his own contradictions. It means disclosing his attempts to deceive and distract from whatever failure is maddening him at the moment. And it means unflinchingly publishing reports about the crimes that he, his associates, and his family have committed. And if Trump, Fox News, and his Deplorable cult followers think that’s biased, too bad? It’s more important to tell the truth than to pacify the fragile sensitivities of politicians and their patsies.