It was a very simple tweet.
“POTUS says GOP is coming together. Jovial as he cheers vote.”
I tweeted it from the Rose Garden as President Trump exclaimed how happy he was the House passed his healthcare reform legislation.
Because of that one tweet – which automatically feeds to my FB page, I got 13 private messages within a matter of about 10 minutes. Six of them accused me of being a secret “Trump loving fascist,” or “Hate-mongering racist” while six of them accused me of making fun of the president. “What do you mean by jovial? Are you calling the president stupid?” One guy asked.
By Friday I had 37 private messages – and none of them were complimentary. There were many more comments on FB.
Then there was the stray stoner, I believe, who sent me the private message asking me how I could compare the Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the House passing the GOP version of healthcare to a Beatles song. “Come together was a brilliant song and you ruined it for me,” the suspected stoner said.
For the record my tweet – I believe – was merely an accurate reflection of what occurred in a brief moment of time in the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon – nothing more and nothing less. It was not an attempt to editorialize, defend or attack the President of The United States.
As Freud reputedly said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
cigar is just a cigar,"
I wrote about a dozen tweets sitting in the Rose Garden Thursday. None of them ventured forward any opinion. I tweeted the size of the GOP crowd, some of what was said, Kellyanne Conway’s reaction to the vote – she was sitting with President Trump in the Oval Office with friends and family while the vote was counted. Sean Spicer watched it at the Pentagon because he was on reserve duty. He was happy about the outcome.
Nowhere was there a taint of “liberal press” or racism or fascism in those tweets. It was just what was going on.
Now you can agree or disagree with what the House did – and we all have opinions on that – but what happened is what happened. And what is happening, I can tell you from the responses I received and from what I continue to see, read and hear in social media and from reputable and questionable news sources is we remain a divided and completely sanctimonious, self-centered and ignorant nation.
This is not a slap at the alt-right crowd – but an observation of all of us.
One of those who read the tweets said I was “probably the kind of person that would support Ann Coulter speaking at Berkely.”
Yes. Yes I am. I may disagree with what you say, but will defend to death your right to say it is a sentiment in which I firmly believe. To that end, yes, free speech dictates Ann has a right to speak anywhere she wants and espouse any belief she has – short of yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater when there is none.
Some of you are convinced the “mainstream media has a liberal bias, so when you say the president was jovial, you’re really telling us he was a fool. Your kind should be stopped.”
For the record, anyone who knows me knows I am not a subtle person – if I think you to be a fool, you won’t have to read between the lines foolish reader. I’ll let you know just how big of a fool I think you to be – in this case a gargantuan one.
Too many of us see life in terms of merely black and white when the subtleties of shade – some of the most beautiful things in life - evade us. I love attending NRA meetings wearing an ACLU hat, and love cutting my lawn in the extremely blue state of Maryland wearing an NRA baseball cap.
As for the “liberal press,” this is a bugaboo that refuses to go away despite any evidence to the contrary. Those who believe in its existence remind me of Holocaust deniers, members of the Flat Earth Society and climate change deniers.
The press has its problems – quite a few – and as a working reporter I’ve had first-hand experience in dealing with these problems. I do not say the press isn’t liberally biased because I love liberals, I say it because it is inaccurate and but a small symptom of a larger problem. The press is biased both conservatively and liberally. Those who scream about the “liberal press” are usually those who merely disagree with news that doesn’t fit their philosophical cul-de-sac and they wish to vigorously denounce that with which they do not believe.
But, if you can suspend your own prejudice for just a second, then you will see the real problem in the press is there are only a handful of companies which supply the vast majority of what you read, hear, or watch in the news. When you buy a Ford or a GM product, you can buy a Mustang, a Corvette, a pickup truck, an SUV or a variety of other cars and trucks – but you’re still just buying from those two companies.
Thus it is in the media. The message is crafted to sell. The major media companies own a variety of outlets and they do not care what you buy as long as you buy their product. They sell you what you want in order to make money. You buy liberal news to yell about it or because you like it. You buy conservative news to yell about it or because you adore it.
The number of liberals spreading “conservative fake news” on their social media sites in order to denounce it is as hilarious as watching my very conservative friends spreading “fake liberal news,” and denouncing it. Those who produce it don’t care if you like it.
You bought it.
"The bias in the media is a façade
manufactured to make money"
The bias in the media is a façade manufactured to make money. It is a simple economic fact and most of us are either ignorant of it, or take advantage of it.
Real independent news gathering is the endangered species.
Since, as Jefferson said, vigilance is the eternal price of liberty – those of us left in the independent press must commit ourselves to stepping up the competition.
And one byproduct of that commitment is you will occasionally read or see things that do not fit your philosophical cul-de-sac.
Sure, say my conservative friends. But, “all you do is criticize the president and you won’t even accept him as ‘our president’,” they say.
Not true. I am not an election denier. I have accused the president of being a sore winner by constantly attacking his vanquished foe, but there is little doubt who occupies the Oval Office.
I have seen and do not agree with some of the vitriol aimed at the current administration – but I do understand it is a result of the president’s vitriol when he was on the campaign trail. He has no one to blame but himself for the vituperative attacks leveled at him and his administration – and I stand wholeheartedly against his demeaning and dangerous stance against free speech.
Still, I share some of his criticism of the press – I merely think he is doing what most everyone else does – lash out against symptoms without understanding or purposely misunderstanding the root cause of the problem. The sad part is he has it within his ability to propose real changes that could help solve the very problem he has with the press – yet he would prefer to speak in vague generalities, platitudes and inspire fear and hate.
I will also defend the president’s moves when I agree with them – in a column. In a news report – like the tweets I mentioned earlier – I will relegate myself to merely speaking of the facts.
As for laudable actions by this administration, the thing that gave me – as a fan of science and space exploration – the greatest thrill was Trump cheering on the drive to get a manned Mars mission to the red planet – sooner than the deadline under which NASA is currently working. It is a departure from previous administrations and a welcomed one from my perspective.
In foreign policy I believe it is good not tell your enemy what you’re doing. President Obama announced “no boots on the ground,” against ISIS, but Trump prefers to keep his enemies guessing.
So there are, quickly, areas in which I agree with the president.
I was also happy to see a bi-partisan continuing resolution to fund the federal government though I think the Democrats and Republicans later came out and metaphorically stuck their tongue out at each other – claiming each got over on the other - in a continuing display of childish behavior that often reminds me of two kids with cowlicks and snot running down their nose arguing over who is the biggest nerd.
That behavior was on full display again last week. The Democrats taunted the Republicans for passing a replacement for the Affordable Healthcare Act in the House while some 100 or so congressmen gathered in the Rose Garden crowing over a victory that hasn’t yet occurred.
And the bottom line – we’re still divided as a nation and still more happy pointing fingers at each other than finding real solutions.
That’s an indictment of the President of the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and members of both parties.
But ultimately it is a reflection of who we are as a nation and our inability to elect people who can make a difference. Until that changes do not expect the self-centered behavior in government to change – it remains,again, as Pogo said – “We’ve met the enemy and he is us.”