Our Dear Feared Leader has launched a propaganda hour on Facebook delivering only what he wants to hear. The news might be fake, but the threat is so very real.
There is one thing, and one thing only, that the American people can trust Donald Trump to do: Accuse other people of doing what he’s guilty of. He accuses the New York Times of leaking sensitive intelligence, while he’s the one retweeting a Fox News article with classified information about North Korean missiles. He tried to make Hillary Clinton responsible for the fact that her husband is a creep by making a show of appearing with the former president’s accusers—meanwhile admitting, on tape, to committing sexual assault. Trump was obsessed with trying to ding Obama, via Twitter, for taking too many vacations, but now that he’s in office, Trump spends far more time than his predecessor bopping golf balls around. He won’t stop hollering about how Obama fixed the 2016 election that Trump won, anyway. Of course Trump’s campaign is the one under investigation for colluding with Russia to throw the vote, and his son affirmatively accepted a Russia-backed promise to help his father win the presidency.
And then there is “fake news.” To Trump, “fake news” is all news that is not expressly celebratory of Trump, his perceived accomplishments, his candidacy and presidency, his family, etc. Trump started beating this drum of dipshittery before he took office, and he’s continued to paint himself as the helpless victim of tens of thousands of hostile journalists who live and breathe to do nothing but cover up his myriad successes, which are very numerous, I mean they’re just yuuuuuuge. But you wouldn’t know that, because from the Pacific to the Atlantic and between the borders, hordes of secretly liberal reporters consider it their sole task in life to say mean things about Donald Trump.
Luckily, some real news has finally arrived to set the record straight. “News of the Week” airs on the only real news network, Donald Trump’s Facebook page. It is syndicated on the only real news platform, Donald Trump’s Twitter account. It is hosted by the only real journalist, Kayleigh McEnany, a lawyer who has never had a job in journalism.
McEnany did briefly work on Mike Huckabee’s show, “Huckabee,” a short-lived vanity project that looks like it prepped her well for singing the praises of dim and delusional men. An appropriate follow-up to the “Huckabee” gig, “News of the Week” is embarrassingly low-budget propaganda, read by a woman who is not very good at reading things on camera, the sole requirement of her job. McEnany’s sign off, “I’m Kayleigh McEnany and that is the real news!” is laughable in its propagandic transparency. The show—it takes but 90 seconds to cover all the news of the week—is a less entertaining version of the kind of thing a child would put on as a “play” for their parents’ friends after a dinner party. It begs for a Great job, sweet pea, and yet it is a fully endorsed production of the president of the United States, paid for by his campaign. A campaign he won months ago and can’t stop talking about.
It’s almost as if there’s something fundamentally illegitimate about the way Trump took office—and he knows it. Why else hire a pretty blonde gal to recite, via Facebook, the most outrageously false claims about what a big, strong, very big and strong and smart and good and strong man Mister Donny is? Trump, and by extension his administration, is riddled with insecurity, and instead of trying to cover this embarrassing fact up and pretend like Donald Trump doesn’t have a damn care in the world, they’re producing a cheesy newsreel about what a great dude he is, as if this isn’t a most obvious and sad (sad!) ploy for the kind of attention Trump craves.
But here’s the saddest! of the sad!: Even though Trump’s approval numbers are abysmal, people who do real journalism still have to put in work refuting the barefaced lies he’s trying to present as “real” news on “News of the Week.” (If you don’t have time to watch the segment or read this great Washington Post explainer on the preposterous claims McEnany makes in the video, I’ll sum it up: Donald Trump is apparently single-handedly responsible for the state of the American economy.) It is the year 2017 in these here United States, and it is not only not preposterous that a sitting president has launched a weekly propaganda program on Facebook, but there must be millions who think it’s about time someone started covering the “real” news. There must be millions more who think that “News of the Week” is silly or ridiculous, but who probably don’t spend much more intellectual time on it than that.
So I will say it as plainly as possible: “News of the Week” is obviously not real news. And it’s also not just another wacky Trumpism. It’s a vehicle not just for puffed-up propaganda, but for outright lies, and it is paid for and developed by a man who is so thin-skinned that his advisors fight over who will deliver his daily clipbook full of fawning cable news chyrons. This is the man who is currently leading our country—or, at least, is supposed to be trying. I know that if anything made sense, we wouldn’t have a sexual predator who welcomed Russian interference in American democracy in office in the first place, so I don’t expect “News of the Week” to foment much outrage. But don’t dismiss Trump’s little tee-vee program as merely another eye-rolling iteration of his ego mania. It’s a serious display of just how desperate and despotic that man really is—and how cavalierly he approaches the only business in which he succeeds: the business of prevarication.
It’s not just about the stories. Journalism is also about who is telling them.
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