Traditionally the victimizer, the American news media this year has found itself a victim of almost daily berating from a bizarre presidential candidate who isn’t just a sexual predator and con-artist, but, too, a bully, who now has a commercial produced by his opposition depicting him as such. Hyperbole it is not to suggest that the news media, once all-too-powerful with an uncanny ability to influence thoughts, today knows not what to think regarding the abusive relationship its committed to with the demented Mr. Donald Trump, an elderly man whose own words paint him as a picture of un-welcomed confrontation.
The abuse, of course, isn’t physical but it’s no less damaging to the victims. Ironically, it was the generosity of the news media who catapulted Mr. Trump, a former reality television star who frames his campaign as a one-man show, to the epicenter of American politics; and it’s from that exact high-profile location where the public berating often occurs.
So dramatic and demeaning are the attacks and actions from the Republican nominee that the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement calling Mr. Trump, who for a period during his presidential campaign banned certain news media outlets from covering his well-attended events, an “unprecedented threat” to free press. Just recently, Mr. Trump threatened to sue the New York Times for publishing a story featuring the voices of women who’ve accused him of sexual assault.
And, if elected – which at this point is highly unlikely – Mr. Trump pledged to change libel laws in the country to make it easier to bring forth lawsuits against news organizations that write and publish “negative and horrible and false articles.” For a man who brands himself as a patriot, Mr. Trump, birthed from a Scottish immigrant, has shown an unbridled contempt for the fruit that the First Amendment bears.
The news media’s commitment to Mr. Trump isn’t because they’re in love and can’t walk away; rather it’s an economic convenience for an industry whose future is unclear to many. Mr. Trump is a draw, which means audiences want to see him, and that results in high-ratings which convert to advertising dollars. Indeed, like in any emotionally abusive relationship, the dominator uses money to control.
But beyond money as leverage, others signs of an emotionally abusive relationship exist: public humiliation, constant put-downs, guilt trips and faulting another for almost everything. The latter is may be the most prominent characteristic on display now as Mr. Trump, likely seeing the proverbial handwriting on the walls, has claimed that the Fourth Estate, which during the primary collectively gave him more than $2 billion worth of earned media, is now rigging the election for Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Even though Mrs. Clinton, who in a national Wall Street Journal/NBC poll has an eight-point lead, is Mr. Trump’s opponent, he seems to have identified the news media as public enemy number one.
The news media, in its own way – editorials, satire and political cartoons – makes attempts at fighting back, but leaving their abuser, the man largely responsible for its current cash flow, they will not.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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