Journalists with some of the largest media platforms can rightly find so little to praise about his foray into "being a President" that they've taken to fawning over his Twitter usage. Yes, it was only mere months ago that Donald's Twitter habit used to be widely recognized as a trait that shed light on his unsuitable, disqualifying temperament. But my oh my, it's incredible what gets legitimized in the US when a rich white man is inaugurated.
Let's take a look at the New York Times this past weekend, which has been running a series on Donald's first 100 days.
In an article entitled "The Upside to the Presidential Twitter Feed," Michael Kinsley encourages readers to think of "positive things Mr. Trump has said or done." The idea is that the poopy-head "establishment press" is so "vicious" to Trump that we ought to list good things about him. Oddly, Kinsley acknowledges that the harsh coverage of Trump is "largely right," but he then, without reason, encourages readers to engage in an exercise I can only describe as fairness posturing. For, the idea is that the media is right to criticize Trump, but to avoid looking biased we ought to invent things about him to praise.
Kinsley goes first and his "positive thing" about Trump is to be very impressed by the fact that, even though Trump knows very little about his current job, one of the things he does apparently know is how to use Twitter:
"With [Trump's] use of Twitter as a sort of brain dump, exposing his thinking to the world at all hours of day and night, he has made social media almost a part of our constitutional system. And he apparently writes tweets himself. Here is the direct connection to the people that presidents always say they want and presidential aides always strive to prevent them from getting, for fear that the boss will go 'off message.'"Also at the Times, in a piece entitled "The Making of a Legacy: First Steps in the Trump Era," Julie Hirschfield Davis and Michael D. Shear note that one of Trump's accomplishments has been that he has "upended the way a president communicates with the public, using Twitter to talk directly to Americans." They refer to Trump's tweets as "unvarnished commentary."
So, I have a few observations.
One, it's bad enough that Trump is praised for writing "tweets himself," something virtually anyone with an Internet connection can do. But, nothing convinces me we are doomed more than our purportedly-liberal media praising a man for his Twitter when this same man uses this same Twitter to harass the media, alienate allies, and seemingly come close to starting war on the daily.
Two, look at the way Trump's tweets are described as "direct" and "unvarnished." The implication is that Trump's tweets are a good way for us to know what he's really thinking. Meanwhile, however, it's well documented that Trump is a habitual liar. Linda Qiu noted, for instance, in her 100 days piece at New York Times, that Trump has "logged at least one false or misleading claim per day in 91 of his first 99 days."
So, while the establishment media continues to document Donald's lies, it is also bizarrely taken for granted that because Trump's Tweets are often belligerent, they are also truthful, "off the cuff," and not calculated. We need to push back on that assumption. Multiple investigations are being conducted regarding Trump's possible ties to Russian hacking and interference in the election. Trump has been leveraging Twitter as a political weapon since at least the primaries, even tweeting messages that sync with Wikileaks messaging and its release of hacked emails.
I suspect we might one day know the full scope of Trump's, or his team's, coordination with Russian agents and Wikileaks, but I find it incredibly irresponsible to be praising Trump's Twitter usage at this point in time. The Editors of the Times have already, previously, referred to the Times as a "de facto instrument of Russian intelligence" during election 2016 by writing so many stories about hacked Democratic National Committee emails and yet here we are: What lesson, if any, has been learned?1/3 Donald's messaging about DNCChair parallels that of Wikileaks, which references emails hacked by Russia. pic.twitter.com/yNVVIrtu8J— Fannie Wolfe (@fanniesroom) February 26, 2017
Lastly, and more broadly, establishment media may exist in a geographic and liberal bubble, but that does not mean it exists in a feminist or anti-racist one. To the contrary, what often goes unmentioned in "liberal media bubble" pieces is that while the establishment media may be liberal-leaning, it is also dominated by white and male voices. Accordingly, this liberal media likes to play "look at us being fair" just about as much as it likes to play "devil's advocate" about issues that uniquely impact women and people of color. So much so that we often see horrific "both sides are just the same" over-corrections toward misogynistic and racist viewpoints. (And, when "diversity" is added, it's conservative voices and rarely feminist anti-racist ones).
For instance, the establishment media aided Trump's electoral college win by, as just one example, running stories for 600 straight days about Hillary Clinton's server, while largely banking on the trope: "women are deceptive/what is she hiding." That we are now being urged to find nice things to say about a man who has admitted on tape to grabbing women's genitals without their consent is not, therefore, a surprise.
Isn't that what's so often done with predatory, abusive men? People, men especially, vouch for the "goodness" of abusers and rapists all the time, thereby legitimizing and normalizing their access to resources, the top gigs, and additional people to victimize. Although, I will admit, asking the NYT readership to partake in the exercise certainly takes the grotesqueness to a new level.
All of this is to say that, in case it's not clear, I won't be partaking in the exercise of praising Donald Trump, least of all for his remarkable ability to shit dishonest, bullying "brain dumps" on the populace.