Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog observes what the general takeaway is from coverage of Golden Turd Donald "Moron Vector" Trump's daily bullshit sessions:
... What Trump is doing every day -- it's hard to say whether he's being shrewd or has just stumbled on a routine that seeks to work for him -- is weaving his pathology into a briefing that generally has at least some real news. That news is what a lot of Americans take away from the briefings, because news organizations generally treat it as far most important than Trump's outbursts. Some news outlets seem to regard the news as the only important part of the story. [snip]
It ought to matter that, in the midst of a crisis, we have a president who's accusing desperate healthcare workers in a viral hot zone of being grifters trying to steal and sell face masks, all because he can't accept numbers predicting exponential growth of demand for health services that are extremely dangerous to provide. It ought to matter that Trump bullies and insults reporters for quoting his own words back to him. It's an election year. When it suits us, we decide that "character" is an important criterion when we're judging who's fit to serve. But the media isn't treating Trump's character as an important story.
Trump parcels out just enough news every day that the takeaway, for people who can't read the news in depth, is A serious man is leading us through a serious crisis.We keep waiting in vain for the corporate media -- especially in the form of the nightly network newscasts -- to cover Trump's manifest moral rot and mental incompetence, mostly displayed in his unscripted remarks and tweets, but... they don't. Instead of seeing some of his more sociopathic tweets like these highlighted --
“President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
So much of the Lamestream Media is writing and broadcasting stories with facts that are made up and knowingly wrong. They are doing it by quoting unnamed sources that simply do not exist. These are very dangerous & corrupt people, who will do anything to win. NAME YOUR SOURCES!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020
I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic. Yet your Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude! #MAGA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020
-- we get valuable minutes wasted on "good news" pablum that infantilizes the audience and whistles past Trump's existential grave yard.
Jay Rosen has suggested the media, among other things, use a "truth sandwich" approach in covering Trump's firehose of falsehoods:
Experience has taught us that there will occasionally be times when the President makes a demonstrably false claim, or floats a poisonous lie, and it is too consequential to ignore. We feel we have to tell you about it, even at the risk of amplifying his deceptions. In those special cases, we will adopt a news writing formula that has been called the “truth sandwich.” It is a more careful way of reporting newsworthy falsehoods. First you state what is true. Then you report the false statement. Then you repeat what is true...This should also apply to the unhinged comments/ tweets/ etc. that the low information public needs to see. Rather, we believe the media has largely adopted the stance that "Trump's low character is already a given" and that nothing is gained by further hammering his moral rot and mental incapacity into the public consciousness. So, one of the lessons of 2016 is being repeated, even with three years of hindsight.
Before Trump was even sworn in as "president," Ned Resnikoff at the sadly departed Think Progress wrote some advice for the media, which has only fitfully been heeded, if at all (no link):
Journalists need to understand what Trump is doing and refuse to play by his rules. He is going to use the respect and deference typically accorded to the presidency as an instrument for spreading more lies. Reporters must refuse to treat him like a normal president and refuse to bestow any unearned legitimacy on his administration.
They must also give up their posture of high-minded objectivity — and, along with it, any hope of privileged access to the Trump White House. The incoming president has made clear that he expects unquestioning obedience from the press, and will regard anyone who doesn’t give it to him as an enemy.With the exception of a few stalwarts (Yamiche Alcindor, being the most recent to stand up to the bully), the media continue to gloss over what is plain to see -- a mentally unhinged, morally unfit sociopath floundering and deflecting at a time of national crisis.
Is the truth that hard to tell?