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America's National Car Alarm

Dave Randall

Posted on April 21, 2018 23:27

1 user

They're both set off by the least provocation. Car alarms and the commander in chief.

It's no secret that journalism, the 4th Estate, is under siege. In Europe, Russia, Mexico, war zones, hard working reporters, digging deep, investigating important stories, are being killed. 

Here, President Donald J. trump has made journalists targets of his barbs, insinuations and less-than-subtle inferences that they should be put behind bars. Unlike any other chief executive (not simply because social media is less than fifteen years old), he uses the bullhorn of the presidency to stay in the media spotlight, incessantly, through Twitter. 

Each morning, the President rains tweets, and the collective media sops up every bellicose word like a towel, and Trump is a pipe, shooting hot liquid through a stubborn leak.

Treated as news because he occupies the nation's highest office, these tweets are particularly disturbing because of their inaccuracies, misspellings, threats and meanness of spirit. 

In a way, they remind me of the Justin Halprin Twitter feed, "Bleep my Dad Says," which Halprin turned into a best selling book, then a short-lived CBS-TV series in 2010, starring William Shatner as the father with no filter.

The tweets were amusing, the TV show less so, and the concept of Twitter being a conveyance for every day wackiness and eccentricity was born. 

When it comes to the Presidency, however, it is difficult to watch and listen to the blanket coverage of these semi-literate musings, sneers, taunts and braggadocio. It's like the nightly car chases we're subjected to in Southern California.

Ratings grabbers, they provide free-wheeling thrills, while eating up time for stories that might illuminate or educate, and they inspire people with nothing to lose to evade police, knowing Andy Warhol's 15 minute of fame will be all theirs as long as the gasoline holds out.

Trump's Tweets are like car chases because they titillate.

That's not the only automotive analogy one could make for Trumpian tweet-storms. Every time he hits the send button, it's like a car alarm going off. TV, Radio, and the internet don't reach for their keys to shut it off. The alarm shrieks until it just stops, having been set off by anything.

The presidency is currently occupied by a man who enjoys the sound of his own voice, and the sound of other voices reading what he has tweeted. Instead of ignoring the rantings, all the forms of media spread the bleating like echoes off a canyon wall.

I'm just a writer with an opinion, and maybe professors of journalism, and esteemed practitioners of the trade can tell me why each incendiary word must be slavishly splashed across every screen of every device we have. The tenets of journalism preach these tweets must be presented without comment or context, insults or denigrations be damned. 

What do I know? Were he not in the Oval Office, he might be Justin Halprin's dad, turned into a TV show that was gone after 18 episodes. As it is, they are sickening to see, and demeaning to the Presidency.

Dave Randall

Posted on April 21, 2018 23:27

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