Oh, the vapors, the vapors… Donald Trump, while detailing his veteran donations at a news conference, thoroughly dissed the press and called a reporter “sleazy.” (Hillary Clinton, it’s worth noting, doesn’t do that. She can’t because, although running for president, she hasn’t had a news conference in 2016.)
Well, of course Donald did because they are mostly sleazy, all of them, including me. I’m particularly sleazy when I’m reporting, slightly less so when I’m writing an opinion piece. And that’s the point — it’s all opinion when you examine it closely, reporting not so much. Nothing is really objective. It can’t be. We’re all biased for one obvious reason — we’re human. Ever meet an unbiased human? It was probably a corpse. An old one.
And as for journalists as a class, Joan Didion put it best in her introduction to her classic Slouching toward Bethlehem: “writers are always selling somebody out.”
Reporters are most sleazy when they pretend to be objective, following diligently in the footsteps of the Grey Lady herself and her onetime motto “All the news that’s fit to print.” Only the Times chose what news fit, not to mention what news “fit” on the front page and what on page twenty-four. Bias anyone? (It took years for the Times to put Auschwitz on the front page.)
Trump knows this behavior well since he’s been manipulating the press for years. Call him Charles Foster Trump. I’m surprised Donald has bought a newspaper by now, not that he needs one. He has a — excuse the expression — trump card, meaning the press needs him (for clicks or viewers) more than he needs the press, though it’s a close call. The rest of us are not so lucky. We don’t get to so easily attack the press, even when it attacks us. We don’t have Trump’s megaphone. No one has his megaphone these days.
So Donald is acting for all of us, a solid majority anyway, when he disses the mostly liberal press. It’s certain to be popular.
And I for one am glad we might have a president who seems clued in to alternative voices (i. e., social media) as well and pops off on Twitter. I hope he doesn’t stop (although he might want to work with an editor). The reason is simple. We need as many voices as possible since none is unbiased. A multiplicity of sources is the only way we can even have a chance to get at that truth, to find even a hint of transparency. The current government is doing everything it can to suppress information, as was made obvious Tuesday by the astonishing number of State Department and DOJ lawyers sent to defend Cheryl Mills at the Judicial Watch deposition.
This is likely to get worse. To say we live in dangerous times is an understatement. Traditional sources of information and communication are not the answer. Or are only part of the answer. As I typed this, I was sent a link to a video shot independently on the streets of Paris today, May 31, about something their mainstream media, often even more restricted than ours, isn’t covering — the nonstop Muslim mayhem in their country.
When you watch this video, you realize that Trump is doing the right thing in holding the press to account. They are a privileged class. I am part of it, peripherally anyway, and have enjoyed that privilege. It is a far stronger privilege, I assure you, than the color of my skin. It gets me into places that many can’t go. When you look at the video on the next page, you realize what a responsibility that is.
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – will be published by Encounter Books on June 14, 2016. You can read an excerpt here. You can pre-order the book here.