The media seem to be impaled on the horns of a dilemma: Cover Donald Trump and, if they do so with a shred of integrity and concern for the truth, their reportage will inevitably be negative. Trump and his minions then say it’s fake news and throw the resulting red meat right to the base, dividing the country ever more deeply. The media refuse to change, and so does Trump. We spiral downward into a rabbit hole whose surprises we dread to encounter. More frightening yet — we may be closer to the beginning than the end.
Here’s a thought: What if the media just stopped covering Trump on a daily basis? Why must they dutifully replay every infuriating word from every canned, rigged, reality-TV campaign rally and faux news conference and then bemoan his total narcissism, his complete lack of empathy, his wedge-driving failure of leadership, his dog whistles for racists, his winks and nods to neo-Nazis, his total and unrelenting lack of human decency?
In a world in which Trump has driven normal out the window, why must journalists play along and keep sliding down the slippery slope of trying to cover Trump like a normal president? For one thing, it isn’t working; in fact it feeds directly into his egomaniacal wet dreams. Just imagine how it would infuriate him if no one covered him in West Virginia and Montana and North Dakota or even on the White House helipad.
Oh, Fox would be there, of course, but there’s nothing much to be done about Fox anyway, at least until Sean Hannity faces his curiously absent me-too moment.
But in the meantime, stop enabling Trump and stonewall him instead. It will make his head explode like an overripe Sunkist navel. He might have to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue just for the attention. And the rest of us will get a respite from our nightly fix of masochism from MSNBC and CNN.
Talk instead about climate change, island nations slowly sinking, the U.S.-fueled drug trade, the fundamental forces driving mass migration, the truth about our unfair, propped-up economy, where American families really can afford the newest X-box if everyone works the three minimum-wage jobs they can now get; the extortionist pharmaceutical industry that keeps so many of us on the edge of bankruptcy while its alter-ego, agribusiness, fills our bodies with addictive sugars that send us to the drugmakers in a cycle of profiteering that rivals war and the armaments industry.
Talk about the new American slavery, a for-profit prison industry that siphons hope from minorities while providing a constant supply of all-but-free labor. Talk about education, where the profit-driven companies and evangelicals scheme tirelessly to bleed the public school system into penury so they can complain about the results of public education.
Talk about a civilized world devolving before our eyes, where our primitive brains are nurtured and fed with paranoia, our amygdalas pampered and cultivated with scapegoating and fearmongering, fanned with horrific prophecies of the globalist Jew-bankrolled caravan that’s coming to steal their stuff and vote for Beto O’Rourke — all of it the fiendish work of that money-dripping Satan, George Soros, and his Semitic soulmates, Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein. Lock. Them. Up.
Talk about the Philippines and Hungary, an increasing portion of Europe, and now Brazil turning hard to the right, making a mockery of humanistic progress while the planet counts down like an oven timer, and we can watch the poorest among us cook first on the shelves just above our own slowly roasting middle-class butts.
Talk about journalists covering each other not covering Trump.
Talk about anything — Kanye West, Mama June, the Red Sox, the Kardashians, Michael Avenatti, Joe Biden, Roseanne Barr.
But at least, dear media mavens, grant us one small wish and give us not our daily Trump.
Steve Klinger is a veteran journalist, satirist, musician, and college English instructor based in southern New Mexico.