According to the New York Times, Donald Trump has received almost $2 billion in free media coverage. That’s more than all of the candidates, Republican and Democrat, combined. What the cable media has not sufficiently done is challenge him on his lies, threats, vulgarities, hate mongering, promises and his inability to provide substance on almost every element of what voters need to know to evaluate his intellectual and practical capability to be President of the United States of America. This begs the question – why?? Has the media, like Chris Christie and Ben Carson, been bought by Trump? As an aside I happened to see Christie at Trump’s future Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, literally feeding at the trough.
Melissa Jelsten of the Huffington Post wrote an excellent piece last week called “Donald Trump is Successfully Conning the Entire Country,” that calls Trump out. All of the journalists covering Trump should study this and start practicing their profession as investigators and critical analyzers, rather than viewing Trump coverage as entertainment.
Regardless of what we may think of Mitt Romney, he got it right when he predicted how Trump would react to his comments. More importantly, he challenged Trump to prove him wrong by disclosing his income tax forms and comments to the New York Times editorial board. Rather than take up Romney’s challenge, Trump, with cable media playing along, predictably trashed Romney in the same dismissive tone and fashion that he always uses against anyone who opposes him.
Unless our television broadcasters provide more balanced coverage, expose his lies and inconsistencies and force more transparency from Trump, he will have a great advantage come November. Even his advisors, who are relatively unknown, untested and dubious, have been severely underreported on. Additionally, Trump’s ongoing “torture first and ask questions later” attitude towards terrorists, especially in the wake of these horrific bombings in Brussels, has been only weakly challenged by the media, and out and out echoed by his top opponent, Ted Cruz. Trump’s temperament and mental state should also be called into question, but since the media has already spent $2 billion on non-informational Trump coverage, I don’t expect any substantive progress on that front either.
Unfortunately, whatever the cable news does to provide more sensible perspectives and coverage may be too little too late. Huge damage has already been done by unleashing an immense level of bigotry, hate and intolerance, in much the same way Hitler fueled it in Germany in the early thirties and McCarthy did in the United States in the early fifties. The media must take much of the responsibility for this because they have become, for all intents and purposes, Trump's propaganda machine.
As a Canadian and seasonal resident in Florida, I am starting to feel unwelcome in the United States due to this huge shift in values. His continual alienation of the Muslim community is not only blatantly offensive, but logistically risky, as they should be the US’s natural first line of defense against terrorism motivated by radical Islam. Additionally, there’s my alliance with the other groups who are threatened by Trump’s reign: the eleven million undocumented immigrants in America, supporters of free speech, the innocent children and spouses of those who may be targeted as terrorists, and in the future, those who dare become witnesses, defenders and resistors of an authoritarian rule.