FOR THE PAST two years, I've paid to read and hear reports from the press pits of America because the reality distortion coming from many corners of Twitter and Facebook is so divisive. Today, I noticed I've two paid accounts for the Washington Post--something I never would have permitted before the Trump era. So you could say that the raucous noise of American politics has nudged me to become more interested in actual facts, not the staged events that diminish understanding of important issues.
The staged events that appear in my morning news briefings now consistently include Trump the cheerleader inciting and amplifying attacks on the free press. Trump (and his briefing team) considers the Fourth Estate "the enemy of the people” and Trump fanatics now take license to treat members of the media as subhuman. Trump defines a free press as part of “the other,” and his cult responds with the kind of venom used to keep a foreign body at bay. This primordial response damages American values.
If I had visited the States to dive into the Corn Wagon (above) for a family picnic, I would have encountered Trump fans under the family tent. In several cases involving my direct family, politics is not rational. No, politics has morphed into a mob mentality empowering blind hatred and insensitive boorishness. I'm actually avoiding family reunions during the next two years because I have read and heard first hand that the most vocal attitudes (the ones most likely to emerge during a late evening drinking session) are totally oblivious to reality. I feel like my extended family is being torn apart.
There is no respect for facts during these discussions. They're based on egregious rhetoric regurgitated by Fox News. As Jennifer Rubin explains, "Words for Trump are the quintessential Pavlovian bell, used to elicit a response from the mob. He says 'MS-13!' and they holler. He shouts 'Fake news!' and they chant. It’s only his better-behaved apologists in Congress, on Fox News and among the right-wing ecosystem who try to rationalize his conduct and explain his statements as if he is speaking great truths that the evil media simply won’t acknowledge."
Now it's back to my Inoreader for a balanced view of the world, culled from 600 sources I've learned to trust.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media students about fake news. The image in this post comes from The Washington Post. Reporting by Jennifer Rubin and Jim Acosta.]