We couldn’t agree more with Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan’s latest column, calling on her media colleagues to break up “cold turkey” with the defeated Donald Trump. Yes, it is more than true that the media gets as much credit as anyone for the unleashing of Trump on us, as much as he has used the “relationship” to bash us relentlessly — not just the media, but the American people who rely on it, and truth itself.
Students of the rise of totalitarian regimes in history and the repression that they impose on their subjects (victims) are well aware of the essential primacy of the suppression of a free press to stabilize their power. It is mandatory that the version of truth as expounded by a tyrant be the only legitimized one, so if a news organization is not willing to be a tyrant’s lapdog, it must be marginalized and discredited. We can be certain that when Trump takes his last trip away from the White House next month, and he contemplates his options going forward, he will not let up on his attacks on “fake news,” that is, the free press.
So, it would be a manifest disservice to the American people and the rightful role of the media in our society to continue to call attention to the outrageous things Trump says, tweets or otherwise expounds. Reporting on his legal, financial and criminal woes as they close in on him, of course, is an exception. The American people deserve to discover the whole ugly truth of how this two-bit con man imposed his reptilian will over all of us having been invited in to occupy the most powerful perch in the world. His niece, best-selling author and psychological professional Mary Trump, confirmed again during an online talk organized by Fairfax School Board member Karl Frisch last weekend, Trump’s diagnosis as a hardened sociopath means that he harbors no empathy or feelings of warmth toward anyone — period — so to say he is “heartless” implies incorrectly that he is in any way associated with a heart.
The nation sorely needs a massive repair job to undo the last 40 years of postmodern “truth is in the eye of the beholder” nonsense that set the table for what we got in Trump. When truth and science take a back seat to political advantage, democracy cannot endure, because it depends on the public having a clear idea of what its options are at every point. If one deconstructs what has passed for our popular culture the last half-century, what’s found is a massive offensive of fantasy and unscientific, uncivil and dystopian narratives from seemingly harmless sitcoms to epic mega film series and virtual reality games.
The truth-telling media has always been a cornerstone of democracy, the more focused on truth and courageously “speaking truth to power” the more vital its service to the people, to those who properly rule, the empowered and enfranchised voting citizens.