It is far too easy to criticize the media, yet they bring it on themselves. The media’s coverage of events generally lacks substance and accuracy, not completely, but enough. I know, time limits prevent the communication of deeper, more accurate understandings. Then one should consider the avenue of expression compromised, at least somewhat.
Today I will harp on the media’s representation of one of Donald Trump’s comments about Ted Cruz. We have become acculturated to sensitivity, so for many, even conservatives, the utterances of the Donald seem harsh or offensive. Some hearers take umbrage at Trump’s words while others revel in them because, in their view, political correctness has devolved into censorship and stifled honesty, and Trump smashes through that cage with the honesty of expression for which those voters have hungered.
Someone can be honest and still be a jerk. But then someone can be a jerk and still be the most qualified person for the office of president.
We are still learning.
Meanwhile, let’s look at how the media reported one of Trump’s comments about Cruz. Trump told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that Cruz was “a little bit of a maniac” when he castigated Mitch McConnell publicly and on the senate floor over a recent vote to re-authorize the Export/Import Bank. Cruz said McConnell told “a simple lie.”
Cruz’s comments ran athwart of good sense and civility, some critics said, but also a Senate rule which prohibits such public denigration.
Whatever one thinks of Cruz or McConnell, or Trump for that matter, Trump said that Cruz was “a little bit of a maniac.” Yet reporters did not repeat Trump’s statement that way. They said Trump called Cruz “a maniac.” Over and over again they reported it that way, and they are still saying it that way, as I listened to a report earlier this morning from a journalist on MSNBC’s Live with Jose Diaz-Balart.
As a voter who wants to understand Trump’s use of hyperbole in his speeches and quotes, the distinction is important. Despite the media effort to create a fight between Trump and Cruz, neither has been too critical of the other. Cruz was caught saying Trump’s campaign would fail and he (Cruz) would collect his support. That prompted Trump’s “attack” on Cruz, which included a fumbled questioning of whether Cruz was an evangelical and a legitimate remark about Cruz’s temperament, since Cruz, if he became president, would have to work with people like McConnell.
The question becomes why the media reports Trump’s words inaccurately. The answers are similar but different.
Many in the conservative media want Trump and Cruz to consume each other with vitriol so either Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, establishment candidates, can step forward to fill the void. So the inaccuracy is useful to them.
Many in the liberal media want Trump or Cruz to earn the Republican nomination because, in their opinion, both are more easily smeared and flayed, so by the time they reach the general election, Hillary, most likely, can defeat their crippled candidacies. Repeating inaccuracies and deliberately misrepresenting utterances, however hyperbolic or figurative, helps to cripple Trump and Cruz and advance the cause of their candidate.
So the game is truly afoot, with the media weighing in for its own purposes. It is getting hard to cry “foul”, though. The Republican leadership, establishment, elites, insiders -whatever you want to call them, are losing this election for their party and its members. They neither understand nor accept the deep disenchantment and outcry of their own members.
By alienating Trump and Cruz, the Republican leadership alienates the bulk of their members, or at least a huge bloc of them. If Rubio or Bush get the nomination through dishonest machinations, the party faithful, feeling cheated and betrayed, will not go to the polls or will vote for a third party candidate. Hillary wins.
Alternatively, the Democrats reliance on current sentiment about Trump stands out as gross overconfidence. People may not like the way Trump expresses himself, but plenty of them want a strong leader who will protect them and protect their borders and restore the economy. Hillary’s high negativity, even within her own party, could cost her votes as citizens look at Trump and say he is more likely to protect them and create prosperity. Hillary will have a hard time winning on those grounds.
Novelty props up Hillary – the first female presidential candidate from the two major parties. People speak of her resume, but it is open to criticism and devaluation. In tough economic times, it’s hard to sell more government spending, especially for welfare, when the bulk of the citizenry is not doing all that well. Certainly, the ideologues will stand with her. With uncertainty about the future prevalent, Trump’s chances, in particular, actually look pretty good.
People will complain about the way Trump speaks, but in the end, when it comes time to pull the lever, the voter is not going to pull it for political correctness, but for the person who will give them more opportunity, more freedom, more prosperity, and more safety.
That’s Trump, hands down. Trump may be rough, but he’s real. Hillary comes across as the charlatan who’s been prepping for the job just because she wants it and she wants to make history. Trump is open about his elitism and his billions. Hillary hides it in the dark and pretends to be a middle class person while she bargains surreptitiously for her own enrichment.
Frankly, there is no comparison, and the voters, regardless of party affiliation, sense it and know it. Trump chafes them, and they want to stop him from getting the Republican nomination, if they can, but they are going to vote for him if he gets to the general election, because they know he is the better, more qualified person. They don’t like him, but the reason for that is he is right even as he is insufferable.
Hillary is a shadow, and shadowy, candidate by comparison, an ideologue who wants to shape America into her self-inflated image. She cannot be trusted. She cannot be relied upon. Ultimately, she is only about herself and her “legacy”.
I know I couldn’t take it: four or more years of Bush or Clinton. God, please, no!
And for all those old-time Republicans Joe Scarborough has been talking about, who allegedly said they will never vote for Trump and for the first time in their political lives they will vote Democrat for Hillary: then you will become the party’s Brutus!
For years you have told your disenchanted members that they had to vote for the candidate you proffered because the alternative was to vote for the greater evil: a Democrat! Now the shoe is on the other foot. Your deafness to all but a few of your party members has been destroying the Republican Party for years. Now a time of change has arrived, and once again you want to force your way down people’s throats. No! No! No! Not this time. Now it’s your turn to be faithful. Now it’s your turn to suck it up and support “the party.” Stop that greater evil from being elected: Hillary!
Ah! How treachery brews in the heart, in the darkened, isolated caverns of the mind!
And it all begins with deliberate inaccuracy!