Pause. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago this man refused to outright condemn Nazi-sympathizers? Now, according to the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and more, our president is just an independent looking for wins.
The mainstream media’s ability to mute outrageous events of last week’s news cycle is one of many reasons its choral praise of President Trump’s decision to side with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on the debt ceiling debate needs to stop. The media is treating Trump as if he’s on the precipice of pragmatism. This “deal” is just the latest in a series of erratic moves.
This kind of coverage is not a new phenomenon. Many media outlets are seemingly unable to cover Trump, or anyone else for that matter, as a product of their full portfolio. Instead, a public figure’s latest move is his or her most effectual.
During the election, Hillary Clinton was only covered as a product of the latest WikiLeaks dump. Steve Bannon, despite his alt-right history, is only his latest rebuke of or crusade against the Trump administration. Taylor Swift is only the last person she dated. Justin Bieber is only the last interaction he had with a paparazzi.
Heck, if David Duke renounced all consideration of racism and extremism tomorrow, I wouldn’t be surprised if media outlets temporarily forgot his violent past and made him into a reform icon.
So today, while the media spends time studying photos of Chuck Schumer and President Trump in a New York style embrace, wondering if there’s been a dawn in bipartisan cooperation, Trump continues to play politics with childhood immigrant’s lives, Harvey relief funding, and Nazi sympathizers.
That’s a game that’s not unfamiliar to Pelosi, Ryan, Schumer and McConnell, who, as master political operators in their own right, are playing politics with all of the above and more. So why treat Trump differently? Why paint the President as some kind of Machiavellian miracle-worker for agreeing to stall a few months on a debt-limit decision?
Neither I nor Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal,” yet either of us could tell you this deal to extend the debt ceiling for three months was the president’s most advantageous choice.
It’s not a particularly “left” choice either. It averts a default on U.S. government debt, keeps the government funded at the outset of the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and provides aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Where’s the unprecedented action?
In fact, it’s rumored the president chose to limit the extension on the debt ceiling so he might have an opportunity to leverage tax reform concessions and get more money for the military this fall—that doesn’t really sound progressive.
There aren’t many tangible ways to identify when the mainstream media is not doing its job. Drawing a rash conclusion without context and a basic analysis of the political landscape is one of them. It’s time to tell your favorite media outlets to remember background information, and stop the incessant sensationalizing of our president’s mundane decisions.