If the national security state fears and even hates Trump, if Trump appalls agencies like the FBI and CIA, he must be doing something right. My anti-Trump credentials are well established, but accusations against the president do not carry a great deal of weight, compared to threats the security state has openly made to our republic’s integrity. Given time, Trump has the potential to cause our country great harm. He has only eight years at most. The security state has had more than a century, if you count back to the Espionage Act in 1917.
Bob Woodward’s book, Fear, has the media all in a flurry again. They love to say the president is crazy. They love words like unhinged, dangerous, fascist, undemocratic, and on and on. Given what we know about Trump, I am honestly surprised things are not worse. He has not started a war yet. He has not plunged the nation into a deep recession. He lies like most politicians, but so far his lies are less consequential than his predecessors’. Altogether, he has not met expectations of disaster.
I can understand their anxiety when the president calls them ‘enemies of the people,’ but nothing about their position as presidential critics obligates them to side with the security state.
His opponents will say, “no credit to him.” Granted. Meanwhile the media become as unhinged as the world they describe. They traffic in rumors and anonymous attacks. Don’t you think they would have a little more pride, or discretion, or even dignity? I can understand their anxiety when the president calls them “enemies of the people,” but nothing about their position as presidential critics obligates them to side with the security state. Perhaps habit drives them to that pernicious alliance, or perhaps laziness. Either way, they look tawdry.
They must see that when they defend the security state against Trump’s attacks, they validate and strengthen his accusations. Mainstream media have buttressed state organs and their aims for a long time, but Trump’s vigorous attacks on both the media and the state have made the alliance too obvious to ignore. Moreover, this conflict will not resolve itself in favor of the media. Trump has drawn the winning hand here. His battle with the security state promises to be hard fought. His battle with mainstream media does not even rise to the level of entertainment anymore. The contest is too unbalanced.
Thank you, New York Times, for violating all your principles of good journalism to keep us happy and engaged.
Update: More fun when you don’t know
Here’s a good one in the Independent:
Lodestar: Mike Pence suggested as Trump official behind anonymous op-ed, as White House hunts culprit – Vice president denies responsibility for article, but online sleuths say use of unusual word either telling or obvious misdirection
And I wrote only yesterday that the fight between the press and Trump wasn’t entertaining anymore, even though that was after Wednesday’s anonymous op-ed in the New York Times. What I didn’t anticipate: the rush among Trump sycophants to deny authorship, as well as the who-done-it flurry of guesswork and speculation in DC. It’s all a blast again. Thank you, New York Times, for violating all your principles of good journalism to keep us happy and engaged.
The Independent article runs through a few arguments for and against Mike Pence as the villain. I like a remark that comes after the vice-president is off the hook:
“Other names floated by commentators speculating on the author’s identity included the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and – mainly in jest – the leader’s wife, Melania Trump.”
I like that – mainly in jest. Anything is possible! Especially in Washington.