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Enough Is Enough: The Media Should Boycott Trump

Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts... in politics?! Picture – YouTube
Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts… in politics?! Picture – YouTube

Here’s a suggestion no media will adopt: until Trump at least retracts (apologies are clearly beyond him) his latest outrageous assertion that “Obama and Clinton are literally the two co-founders of ISIS”, the media should boycott him and refuse to cover him – he cannot be considered a serious person, despite his stature as Republican nominee.

The liberal outliers The Young Turks were correct, after all. I admit that even though I’m no fan of their far-left bias, and I certainly wouldn’t confuse their 2-hour YouTube-streamed shows (weeknights at 6 eastern, that’s midnight here in Central Europe) with a legitimate news show. I’m a big believer in what Cenk Uygur, a uniquely funny and insightful talking head, likes to mock habitually (CNN being his favorite target): an unbiased, impartial approach to news coverage (and delivery!). My idea of the ideal newscaster is one about whom viewers have no chance to guess as to what his or her political leanings are; naturally, The Young Turks are the exact opposite – and that’s fine, but that is also why I cannot consider them to be a legitimate news program. I do consider them to be a superb news talk-show, though (as long as Jimmy Dore is held off the panel; sorry, but I mostly find him unbearable, and I find Uygur a hundred times funnier – in a natural, unforced, effortless way – than the outright “comedian”). I’m also a big Ana Kasparian admirer – though she would no doubt feel like kicking my behind if I truthfully admitted I was primarily an admirer of her looks rather than her routine, impassioned feminist bouts of oratory that often leave me bored and unimpressed.

Oh, and it’s so ludicrous to see The Young Turks frequently and without the slightest qualms employ the f-word as part of their “news program” – yet when it comes to news stories involving liberal hot-buttons such as the n-word, they are absolutely terrified to pronounce it (or even display it in a text insert) fully, not even as a quotation of the original offender. Can you say “politically correct hypocrisy”?

So, The Young Turks are a mixed bag, but generally, I’m a fan, although I’ve never voted for left-leaning parties in Slovak elections. This is, partly, because in post-Communist Europe, everything is upside down: conservative parties in this unfortunate region of Europe are the true progressives (wishing to disrupt the post-Communist malaise and inertia), whereas leftist parties are reactionaries over here.

Despite my being a fan of the show as such, I thought The Young Turks went too far last summer, when, in their initial coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential bid, they always showed his face blurred, or pixelated. Cenk Uygur’s rationale for that was that Trump’s candidacy cannot possibly be taken seriously, but merely as a publicity stunt. Later, as Trump surged ahead in the polls, The Young Turks reversed their original stance, and stopped pixelating Trump’s spray-tanned, orange mug.

Guess what? Here we are, a year later, and it turns out that The Young Turks’ original treatment of Trump was spot-on. He, indeed, is not a serious presidential candidate; despite, in the meantime (and it defies belief), officially securing the Republican nomination for the office. Oh, no; given Trump’s antics, ever escalating over the last few weeks (but now, it seems, gyrating into a new spiral of controversy, or madness, every 24 hours), there are only two options left: Trump either is not serious, or he is insane (as some have openly surmised). Which is worse?

And, regardless of which of the two explanations is true, is a person who fits either of the characteristics someone who should be covered by news organizations as a legitimate candidate for President? To me, the last straw regarding Trump was yesterday, when he doubled down on his outrageous suggestion from Wednesday that “Obama and Clinton are the two co-founders of ISIS”. Say what?! A conservative talk-show host, more than willing to give Trump a break, extended a helpful hand to him: “You mean that metaphorically, right? Like, Obama and Clinton may have created the conditions for ISIS to…” Trump interrupted him, peremptorily (as usual) proclaiming (I’m quoting from memory here): “Oh no, I mean that quite literally. Obama and Clinton are the two co-founders of ISIS. I can’t help it – I’m a truth-teller, and I tell it like it is.”

Well, that’s it. After this, you cannot possibly treat Trump seriously, and serious news organizations should pretty much boycott him from now on, until he at least retracts this latest, unabashedly propagandist (Goebbels would turn green with envy) assertion. (Apologies are clearly beyond Trump.) I’m not sure pixelating Trump’s face would be the proper course to take now, but after yesterday, pretending as if nothing happened and as if Trump still was a standard politician to be included in standard news coverage, no longer seems defensible. This is beyond the pale now. A newscaster’s impartiality and lack of bias I was just extolling (and demanding) above must be – as an exception – abandoned in an extreme case like this.

Politicians are not Humpty Dumpties, permitted to redefine common words of vocabulary. The noun “founder” and the verb “found” have clearly defined meanings; these clearly do not apply to Obama and Clinton in relation to ISIS, and anyone who insists that they do, must be called out for it by news outlets, and must be exiled from standard political coverage. Humpty Dumpty does not belong in politics; Humpty Dumpty is a circus figure – a fabulous fictional character in a seminal literary work of fantasy by Lewis Carroll, but the world of politics is no realm of imagination or fantasy. It’s very much down-to-earth, and so should be our politicians – ideally, drab but efficient bureaucrats of the Angela Merkel stripe (my apologies). It’s too dangerous to let Humpty Dumpties enter the world of politics – before you know it, words (and sentences) will start taking on their reversed meanings (such as “Arbeit macht frei”). Such degradation and perversion of language – this precious tool serving communication purposes among humans – cannot be tolerated by responsible persons working for news organizations.

As Jayar Jackson of TYT aptly noted in the above video-clip from last night’s show, Trump has now descended to the level of Alvin Greene. A freak, not a politician. After yesterday, we now unequivocally have a freak – instead of a politican – vying for the most powerful political office on Earth.

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Alexander Avenarius

Prekladateľ, korektor, tlmočník, učiteľ jazykov, správca serverov. Milovník elektronickej literatúry a mobilných prístrojov (čiže digitálny knihomoľ), študent filozofie a filmov, polyglot, grafoman, hobby-recenzent. Tvorca alternatívneho rozloženia slovenskej klávesnice. Môj alternatívny blog je na adrese extempore.avenarius.sk. Svoje knižné, filmové a iné recenzie posielam – vzhľadom na prehlbujúcu sa nefunkčnosť portálov IMDb a Amazon – aj do blogu AveKritik.com.