When viewed through the dark context of “oh-my-God, what did he do now?!” it really was not a completely horrible week.
Millions of Americans, and me in particular, took heart as hundreds of our newspapers Thursday made their black-and-white case as to why Trump’s assault on our working press and the truth itself are dangerous and very anti-American. One after another, editorials went out excoriating the tiny, little man for his tiny, little tantrums aimed at bighearted people who have dedicated their lives to uncovering truth wherever they can find it, and reporting it out to everybody who has a right to know, which is, well, everybody.
It got so good or so bad, depending on your opinion of the state of things, that #FreePress actually spent most of the day trending toward the top of Twitter. You give thanks for even the tiniest things these days.
And speaking of Twitter, give Trump credit for this: He has impossibly resuscitated a newspaper industry that has been on its deathbed for about a decade or so, and saved it from its own obituary pages. I have never heard more people speak more positively of our journalists than I have since Trump was somehow elected to the world’s highest office on that god-awful, ice-cold November night in what now seems like 129 years ago, but still stings with the resonance of yesterday.
Understand, too, that people have not scurried back to our journalists because they see them as anti-Trump, but because they need answers to some mind-bending questions, and quick. WHO did he appoint to that position?! WHAT did he just say?! WHERE is he sending our money?! WHEN did he talk to that Russian?! WHY aren’t the Republicans doing anything?!
You get the idea. So many questions …
And that has always been the mission of the working press: To be where you can’t asking the questions you are unable to because you are not in a position to ask. You need to have the faith and trust that journalists are out there doing your bidding, digging in, and being the all-around pains in the asses you’d want them to be while calling power into account. Which is precisely why Trump hates them with his uncommon brand of poisonous venom. He should be able to do what he wants when he wants without any damn interference from the people he works for. Got it? That has always been the Trump way. It’s just not America’s.
I’m not ready to say we often get what we deserve in this country, because tens of millions simply don’t. The deck has been stacked against a majority of Americans who have come to see their situation as hopeless. This is completely by design. The irony of course, is that this soul-crushing state of being is a bipartisan condition. If you still don’t see that the many are being stepped on by the heavy, concrete feet of the very few, I am ready to make this point: The rise of our ignorance and hopelessness in this country has coincided with the fall of our newspapers.
How is it we have allowed ourselves to get to this dirty, rotten place where wealth and deceit are first, coveted, and second, lionized. Especially when it is almost impossible to have one without the other. We have become an ignorant, disinterested country that is far more keen to accept awful things than consider for even a single second why they even happened. And there are so many awful things. Too many to adequately process. Who can keep up with all this madness? … You can thank the Internet and its tortuous virtues for much of this, not the least of which was the part it played in the demise of our newspapers.
Information isn’t properly processed anymore. What I mean by that is, it is now inhaled and spit out in the same breath. Nobody can process it all, but I’ll tell you what, newspapers have always done one helluva job of trying. And that would be another reason Trump hates them, I mean since he loved them. There was a time, when all Trump did was run his big mouth, sell steaks online and bankrupt casinos. Back then he actually called newspapers using the name John Miller to gin up favor for, you guessed it, himself. Yeah, he’s that gross and disgusting, but with all the other gross and disgusting stuff he does it’s hard to keep up with it all. See how he works?
So this week newspapers reached out and honked their own horns and reminded everybody that an attack on the truth and the quest to get at it, is an attack on America. They reminded everybody that the President of the United States is leading this attack. I know terrorism when I see it.