Burying us by burying the lede

Ira Lacher: “To save America and perhaps the world, the media must shuck off its outmoded approach of how to treat the president.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Why does the mainstream media not get it? Why do they continue to publish fake news?

No, not that kind of fake news. The kind that insists that we have a president who is able, competent, and dealing with 12 eggs per dozen.

The Washington Post led with the following Saturday about Donald Trump’s latest campaign to sodomize reality:

The federal agency that oversees the National Weather Service has sided with President Trump over its own scientists in the ongoing controversy over whether Alabama was at risk of a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.

CNN’s Kyle Feldscher reported online,

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday disavowed a tweet from the National Weather Service’s Birmingham, Alabama, office that had contradicted President Donald Trump’s false assertion that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit the state.

And The New York Times genteelly added:

On Friday, for the sixth straight day, Mr. Trump continued his relentless campaign to prove that he was right when he predicted that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama regardless of what the scientists said, a quest that has come to consume his White House and put his veracity to the test.

Put his veracity to the test?

The ledes, in all three instances, and many more, should have been apparent to anyone who has ever taken a course in elementary journalism:

With his latest in a score of reality refutation, President Donald J. Trump has once again sent a clear message that Americans should be worried about the mental state of the person who has the power to wreck international trade, destroy the world’s ecological balance and even plunge the world into catastrophic war.

How much longer will the responsible press continue to cover this man as a conventional — and even rational — president?

When the newly inaugurated Trump boasted, despite irrefutable photographic evidence, that more folks attended his inaugural than that of his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, it was eyebrow-raising. All presidents lie, but not to the extent that they make a wizard out of Chico Marx, who famously cracked, “Who ya gonna believe: me or your own eyes?”

But since January 20, 2017, the presdident of the United States has willfully uttered more than twelve thousand misstatements, fabrications, falsehoods, fictions, inaccuracies, calumnies and … wait for it … lies. And yet, the mainstream media continue to report every not-truth he says as if they are newsworthy because the president of the United States says it.

In the meantime, organizations such as the Times “bury the lede” by reporting what the president said, continuing on for a few paragraphs before noting something mealy-mouthed, like, “Statistics show that …” or, “Historians note that …” or, “The consensus of the world’s scientists is that … ”

To save America and perhaps the world, the media must shuck off its outmoded approach of how to treat the president.

The issue is not only that Trump is a modern-day Goebbels, the Nazi wizard of propaganda who understood how to reinforce a lie by repeating it and having the media repeat it. No. The issue is that if Trump is doing this intentionally, he has become a king who rules by divine right. And if he is doing this pathologically, we have a mentally and emotionally unstable man with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

But the most prestigious media, for some unfathomable reason, continue to ignore this reality. Writing in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review in 2017, when Trump’s flavor-of-the-every-day-of-the-month lies were becoming apparent, former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson praised her erstwhile colleagues for reporting on Trump the time-honored way: with carefully substantiated facts.

“I’ve always belonged to the ‘show, don’t tell’ school of reporting (honed in part during a decade at The Wall Street Journal),” Abramson wrote, “and most of the Times stories on Trump rely on skilled narratives with plenty of proof and nuanced analysis.”

Today, that’s like giving someone a dime so they can make a call from a phone booth.

The old saw of journalism is, “If a dog bites man, it’s not news, but if a man bites dog, it’s news.” Trump has bitten more dogs than have appeared in all the Westminster Kennel Club shows at Madison Square Garden. To save America, it’s long past time that our watchdogs — American journalists — start biting back.

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