The Trump administration is more disastrous nationally and internationally than anyone can fathom. The flirtation with Nazis, Nationalism, Ayn Randianism, and other evils did not start with him. Reagan had a big part in it. Just remember where he started his campaign, Philadelphia, Mississippi in Neshoba County where three civil rights leaders were murdered. He expanded on Nixon’s Southern Strategy with an expanded level of misinformation. He spoke about states rights and voodoo economics and we all know what that means. Trump simply passed all of these concepts through a strong magnifying lens.
In an article written by Eric Alterman retitled “Trump’s Genius Is His Entertaining Idiocy” from its earlier title “The Trump Administration: Evil, Stupid, or Both” in the Nation points out an interesting reality about a Ronald Reagan / Donald Trump similarity.
President Ronald Reagan visited a war cemetery in Bitburg as the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II was approaching. Before going he proclaimed of the dead SS soldiers buried there, “They were victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps.” Back then Reagan’s fondness for Nazi soldiers was considered part of the president’s charming “disengaged” quality—his ability to live inside a fantasy world based on alternative facts, like the one he made up when he claimed that he had participated in the liberation of the concentration camps despite the fact that he spent the war comfortably ensconced in Hollywood. Now we know it was the beginning of the Nazi-friendly phase of the Republican Party; a line that led directly to Trump’s calling the Charlottesville thugs “very fine people.”
Alterman then interrogates the Trump administration’s acts.
Evil, stupid, or both? That is always the question with this administration. Which is it with Betsy DeVos? With Scott Pruitt? With Jared Kushner? With all of them?… Could any sensible person defend DeVos’s refusal to examine the problem of gun violence in her recently appointed commission on school safety. And what of the combination of venality, corruption, and incompetence on display in Pruitt’s everyday actions? And Jared Kushner? (Don’t get me started on his spectacular failures and the sea of corruption in which he and Ivanka swim every day.) With Donald Trump himself?
He then gets to something in this administration I’ve written about even in the context of the Trump/Jong Un summit.
I’ve said this before: The problem with this administration is that everything it does is a distraction from everything else it does. Trade? Immigration? Economic equality? Education? Environmental protection? Workers’ rights. Women’s rights? Diplomacy? Whatever it is, to borrow from Groucho Marx, they’re against it. And they will also lie about it. And they will complain about being asked about it. (Dismayed about the fact that reporters were questioning the wisdom of Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinians on the other side of the separation fence in Gaza, US Ambassador David Friedman told them to “Just keep your mouths shut until you figure it out.”)
Alterman would go on to point out why the media is incapable of using the old journalistic techniques to cover Trump and his administration.
I don’t blame journalists for feeling overwhelmed. They have a set of standard practices of how to go about their jobs with a degree of professionalism and self-respect, and none of that works with these people. Offer to allow them to give their “side” of an issue and they will, virtually without exception, tell a lie and call you a “liberal elitist” if you don’t swallow it. Stick to your guns by digging more deeply into the morass they’ve created, and they will sic their violent minions on you to harass you, doxx you, and, occasionally, threaten you with physical violence on social media. And their lies will be repeated literally thousands of times, on Fox, on talk radio, on Breitbart, on Drudge, on Facebook and Twitter, and often, with only the weakest caveats, on CNN, MSNBC, the networks, and the rest of the national news media. … The scale of the Trump threat is beyond our journalistic resources to expose it, much less thwart it. What’s more, Trump’s genius for distraction, self-pity, and entertaining idiocy succeeds not only in normalizing his psychopathic behavior and malevolent prejudices but also in hiding the fact that institutions that protect our freedom and democratic rights are teetering beneath a ferocious assault. We fiddle; they burn.
The current form of journalism is incapable of saving America from the likes of Trump and the misinforming institutions funded by the Plutocracy to maintain their power even as they decimate all else. But who says we must maintain the techniques learned in the Schools of Journalism. A dynamic society requires change when realities change. The Plutocracy and the Right have gamed the current form of journalism. As such, it is essential that journalists adopt a new paradigm. Many independents are, the mainstream media must.