The Press That Cried Wolf
Every day it seems like you encounter at least one headline or news story or op-ed dramatically declaring that whatever horrible, seemingly unforgivable gaffe Donald Trump or the confederacy of dunces in his administration just committed spells the beginning of the end for Trump’s Presidency. He’s really done it now, these articles breathlessly insist. This isn’t like all those times before, when Trump did something egregiously, spectacularly, flamboyantly terrible and wrong and amoral and skipped away with nothing in the way of serious consequences. No, this time is different. This time is serious. This time the consequences will be quick and dramatic and permanent. Heck, they may even lead to his impeachment or possibly even his resignation. If nothing else, this latest high profile blunder should hurt him with his base and possibly harm the entire Republican party in the process.
Oh, how I want to believe these articles! I want so badly to think that Trump is on the ropes and that the public’s psychotic, delusional, unhealthy and ultimately deeply masochistic love affair with the demented narcissist has turned a corner and soured into something closer to hate. For a while, I let these articles give me hope that things were changing in concrete and encouraging ways. I allowed them to infect me with optimism and hope, two things in short supply since Trump shocked and horrified the world by getting elected President.
But I got to a point where I could not bring myself to believe in these stories any more. They began to seem not just unrealistically optimistic but deeply delusional, even heartbreaking. If the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and over again and expect different outcomes, then it is indeed insane to expect that Trump’s 4327th massive, humiliating mistake will have a profound and lasting effect on him when the previous 4326 disasters barely left a scratch.
The media has predicted the end of Trump so often, before the campaign and after, that I simply stopped believing. They have become the press that cried wolf, predicting Trump’s imminent downfall so often and with such misplaced certainty that I have lost faith in their powers of prognostication.
It’s not that I don’t believe in the FAKE NEWS media. No, I do believe in a free press. A free press is sacrosanct in my eyes. But I’ve lost faith in the press’ ability to accurately ascertain the negative consequences of Trump’s actions. That’s largely because in Trump’s case, and Trump’s case alone, the relationship between cause and effect has been permanently severed. With everyone else, actions have consequences. That’s not the case with Trump. He insults veterans, mocks the disabled, brags about grabbing women by the pussy and sucks up to White Nationalists and Putin and his followers just fall deeper and deeper in love with him. His cultists live in their own world of alternative facts, putting their faith in the veracity of the incoherent, self-serving words of a compulsive liar and unhinged narcissist.
When Trump “joked” that he could shoot someone in the middle of the street and not suffer in the polls, he wasn’t really joking. It was less a quip than a horrifying acknowledgment of the world’s unrelenting awfulness in vaguely joke-shaped form.
I’m so pessimistic that I think that Trump will coast to an easy re-election victory. Honestly, I’m so despairing about the state of American Presidential politics that even if I read in the paper and see on the news that Trump was defeated in the 2020 election, or resigned in disgrace, I’m not sure I’ll believe it.
Unless I hear it from Trump, of course. That dude NEVER lies although I might have just started taking my first sips of the MAGA Kool-Aid because I’m starting to think of him as my most useful and accurate source of information on everything involving Donald Trump and his upcoming thousand year Reich.
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