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Whether it was the Kim Jong un-style faux victory lap he took as he cruised past supporters outside his hospital on Sunday, Monday morning's signature, ALL CAPS Twitter meltdown, or tweeting out a reckless message about how Covid-19 should not be feared as nearly 1,000 Americans continue to die each day, Trump's a sick man in many ways. And the press should be honest about that.
Gripped by the Covid-19 virus that he refused to take seriously even as it ravaged the country and the economy, Trump's mental state also appears to be fragile. Long assumed by many to suffer from various personality disorders, such as malignant narcissism, Trump's conduct clearly suggests a man who is not well — and who also happens to be the President of the United States.
His erratic actions pose grave concerns for the country. Yet newsrooms today refuse to address the mounting, obvious signs that Trump remains a deeply unstable man.
It all needs to be addressed, unapologetically, in the news coverage and not left for opinion writers and pundits to ponder Trump's troubled state of mind. It's a fact and it's a news story, so why shy away from it? Why don't we regularly see, "Trump is a Madman" headlines in the news pages?
There’s no question that cable news anchors and experts on CNN and MSNBC in recent days have exhausted themselves trying to find adjectives to describe Trump's unprecedented and reckless behavior. "Current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast Sunday night at President Trump’s trip outside the hospital where he is being treated for the coronavirus, saying the president endangered those inside his SUV for a publicity stunt," the Washington Post reported, following Trump's Sunday joy ride to wave at supporters.
"This is insanity," tweeted James Phillips, a doctor associated with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
And that's why journalists need to take the next logical step and address why Trump continues to amaze us with his refusal to adhere to common sense norms, and why he regularly puts peoples' lives at risk. It's because he's not well. The press at least needs to raise that glaring topic when covering Trump's manic and extreme tendencies, which have catapulted this country into an unprecedented crisis.
Why aren't mental health experts regularly quoted in an effort to inform Americans about the president's likely deteriorating condition and psychological impairments, highlighted by his non-stop lying, wanton cruelty, and embrace of conspiracies? Why has Trump's emotional instability become the third rail of American journalism, a topic so dangerous that it cannot be touched as a news story? Journalists should be more curious. Don't they want to understand if there's something mentally or emotionally wrong with the President of the United States, and delve into what that means for the country?
That's why "Trump is a Madman" should be the norm, especially this week, as he rushes back to the White House and immediately puts staffers at medical risk.
'But "Trump is a Madman" headlines are too opinionated' some might complain, stressing that news coverage should not make value judgments or allow partisan views to cloud the reporting. That's simply not the case here. Trump has proven over and over — dozens, hundreds of times? — that he's not well and that his behavior often careens into the extreme realms of anti-social actions.
Take a step back and try to erase the last four years of Trump mania, and imagine a world leader in October of 2016 who behaved like Trump did — slurred his words while reading a speech off a teleprompter, accused journalists of trying to destroy the economy, suggested giving himself a Medal of Honor, and warned about unfair elections. There's not a single major news outlet in the U.S. that would shy away from depicting that treacherous leader as unbalanced and unwell. Yet the Beltway press, after four years of watching Trump's delusional tendencies up-close, still refuses to be honest and blunt about what's unfolding in America — we have a mad man as president. It's the biggest political story in half-a-century, but the press is too nervous to dwell on it and deal with the consequences.
It’s also likely the press doesn't want to open the Pandora's box by suggesting the President of the United States is unstable, because that would require the media to aggressively cover that story everyday for the rest of the Trump's time in office.
That's why the media's normalizing of Trump has been so dangerous. Day by day, month by month, his extreme tendencies became the norm, to the point where journalists and news outlets barely bothered to document White House sins that would have been presented as administration-defining scandals in years past. Wasting nearly all of Trump's first term hiding behind claims that he was merely spreading "inaccuracies" or he was "misinformed," the press has allowed Trump pathology to become expected.
Today, there are two truths in play: Trump fits the textbook definition of a psychopath, and newsrooms don’t want to touch that story.
💍 GOOD STUFF:
The mask-less Rose Garden event held just over a week ago to toast Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, and the GOP’s determination to jam her confirmation through the Senate just days before the election, continues to represent a hallmark of Republican arrogance in the age of a global pandemic.
The lingering question remains why — why would privileged members of the GOP expose themselves to that kind of risk? From Eric Levitz’s New York piece, “GOP Elites Thought They Could Buy Their Way Out of a Pandemic”:
I can’t look inside Mike Lee’s mind and wouldn’t have the stomach to peer into Bill Barr’s even if I could. But I have a theory (one that I first saw articulated by the policy researcher Will Stancil): Elite Republicans have trouble accepting that they cannot purchase a reprieve from this pandemic — in part because a foundational premise of the elite Republican worldview is that the wealthy can always buy immunity from whatever befalls the herd.
🚓 FUN STUFF — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A BREAK
Caamp, "Officer of Love"
I do love this band, as attentive Press Run readers will note;) "Officer of Love" is the second song released from the Ohio trio's upcoming album release, and it'd kinda perfect.
Stand up on my shoulders
And tell me darling, what can you see?
Ten thousand holy rollers
Goin' to battle, cigarettes tucked up in their sleeves, oh
As you’ve stated, we’ve never had a Mussolini type crazy at the helm and I think it has flummoxed reporters to the point of paralysis. Or, are news organizations looking at their bottom line because 35% of the US are still supporting this psychopath? I think the real story is the undying support from Republican sycophants who long ago knew this man was a dangerous whacko and stood by him. They should be the ones standing up for democracy and screaming it from the rooftops. Adam Schiff said something along the lines of them being tied together with a steel cord. I hope history will be very unkind to them.
I simply don't understand the chaos in the press over the underlying issue of Trump's behavior. He's erratic, angry, delusional, messianic, fatalistic, hubristic and about a million other things bouncing around moment to moment. Are there those in the media who don't see this or simply don't know how to address it within the confines of their news department's rules? It seems to me that Trump has thrown all the rules for behavior by a President out the window and done it since before day-one. Why are the press so reticent about calling it out for what it is?
If the newest polls are to be believed, the voting public is not having that same reticence about judging Trump - which is heartening.