Death by a Thousand Slurs

Death by a Thousand Slurs

This has been the mainstream media’s intention from the Republican primary, through the presidential campaign, and throughout Donald Trump’s first year in office. First there were the characterizations of him as a rude, insulting, narcissistic fool who had no business running for office. After his election, the depiction changed to evil genius who conspired with Russia to subvert the election. Since investigative efforts have revealed that Hillary Clinton is more suspect than Trump in that regard, the narrative has shifted again. Now, it seems, he is insane.

As I write, media talking heads are firing a withering fusillade of denigrating assessments at him, including volatile, uncontrollable, pathological, crazy, demented, mentally unfit, a thug who is not only an embarrassment to the country but a maniac poised to unleash Armageddon on the world. (All the italicized words have actually been used on TV.)

According to a Pew study, only 5% of the stories about Trump have been positive. (Compare that to Barack Obama’s 42%.) Pew’s director of journalism research commented: “It certainly shows that where people turn for news has implications for what they’re hearing about President Trump.” (Next time you are wondering about the cause of the deep political divisions among friends and families, consider that quote.)

Meanwhile, as the unparalleled efforts to discredit the President and undermine his initiatives continue, his accomplishments have increased. They began during his first hundred days, during which he signed 13 Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions nullifying unnecessary regulations and blocking agencies from reissuing them, signed 30 executive orders, and worked with Congress to enact 28 laws. The first accomplishment is unequaled in American history. The last two are unequaled since the days of Roosevelt and Truman.

Those achievements were just during the first 100 days. What is his record over his first year? Sean Hannity’s January 4, 2018 program cited the following facts:

Unemployment has dropped to a 17 year low. (African-American unemployment is now 6.8%, a full percentage drop since January 2017 and the lowest since 1972! Hispanic unemployment is also down.)

One million seven hundred thousand new jobs have been created.

Food stamp use is at a 7-year low.

Home prices are up 6%.

Sixteen regulations have been cut for every new one created.

For two quarters GDP growth has been over 3 percent. (President Obama never approached that percentage.)

Since President Trump’s tax plan was enacted, many companies have rewarded their workers with bonuses or raises. For Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Fifth Third Bank, and Comcast the bonus amount was $1,000 per employee. And the list of companies doing similarly is growing. At this writing, one million employees have received thousand dollar bonuses.

In addition, five major utility companies, including Baltimore Gas and Electric, are using their tax breaks to reduce customers’ bills by an average of 5%.

I would add these achievements to the list:

Trump accomplished the first tax reform in 30 years.

The stock market was under 20,000 when Trump took office. A little less than a year later, it hit an unprecedented 25,000.

Trump appointed nine circuit judges in his first year, compared to Obama’s three. (And Obama had 60 senators to move his nominations along.)

Trump has made significant efforts to create a better working relationship between Democrat and Republican lawmakers. For example, on January 9 he held a meeting with a bipartisan group of senior Senators and Congressmen in the White House. The subject of the discussion was DACA and immigration reform and the press corps was allowed to be present for, and to televise the first 45 minutes. I watched it and was impressed with the President’s conduct of the meeting, in particular his continuing encouragement of both sides to find common ground.

Hannity also noted that Trump’s performance has been vastly better than that of Obama, who had “the lowest labor participation rate since 1970s, close to 95 mil Americans out of the labor force, the worst recovery since 1940s, the lowest home ownership rate in 51 years, almost 15 million more Americans on food stamps, and over 43 million living in poverty.”

Given all this, one might well conclude that if Trump is crazy, we should consider making craziness a qualification for high office!

It would be bad enough if the current behavior of the mainstream media were an aberration—that is, if they were suffering from the new affliction one writer called “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Alas, their behavior is instead just the latest, and most egregious, example of their longstanding, pervasive bias against conservatives. Journalists derided Ronald Reagan as an addle-brained, inept, B-level actor with nutty ideas, who was more interested in watching old movies than running the country. George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush received similar treatment, as did presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney and their running mates Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan.

We would do well to ignore journalists’ constant emphasis on what ails the President, and focus instead on what ails them, including many at ABC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, the NY Times, and the Washington Post.

People who use one of these as a primary news source might consider switching to another source, one that is not obsessed with suppressing news of the President’s many achievements while relentlessly attacking his mistakes, both real and imagined. The attempt to cause the President political death by a thousand slurs is not fair to him and even less so to the general public.

Switching news sources may be difficult, especially for those who have used the same one for years, in some cases the same one their parents and grandparents used. Thus, they might well feel a strong sense of loyalty to the source. Nevertheless, it is important to ask what kind of loyalty that news source has shown them.

It is hardly an act of loyalty or respect of its audience for a news organization to underreport or suppress information necessary to make informed judgments. Moreover, to do so deliberately is a violation of its journalistic purpose.

Copyright © 2018 by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. All rights reserved

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Vincent Ryan Ruggiero