Latest Exhibit A in this ongoing complaint, Ivanka Trump, daughter of the President, dispatched to represent the USA at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in South Korea a week or so ago. Harmless enough by itself, perhaps. The fact that she is working as an advisor to the President in the White House however is not. And the fact that she was sent with a message or messages from the President to the President of South Korea regarding the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula, even though she has neither a security clearance, nor any expertise on the issues, is also not harmless.
This is how banana republics are run, not the supposed most powerful nation on the planet, not a democracy.
But as infuriating as all of that is, what is most annoying is the enabling of this behavior by two entities that are supposed to protect us from turning into a second rate authoritarian country. The lack of oversight or push back from Congress, specifically the Republican majority and leadership of the Congress, allows this assault on our democracy to continue. The other entity is the free press which has done it's best to normalize the truly bizarre and unprecedented actions of this Administration.
Case in point for the media happened during the time Ivanka was at the Olympics. It involved one of my favorite targets for journalistic malfeasance, NBC News and the Today Show. They were touting their exclusive interview with Ivanka Trump. You know since she was at the Olympics, and most of NBC has been there for the duration of the Olympics, it was a natural.
Now I'll admit I did not watch the interview. As soon as they began playing it up to get people to stay tuned, I turned the channel. I turned the channel during the evening broadcast as they trumpeted their interview, and again the next morning during The Today Show. See sentence one re: turning into a crank.
I have seen and heard some highlights however. Apparently the big takeaways were Ivanka being asked to comment on her dad's bright idea to arm teachers in schools, and her being asked about whether or not all the woman who have accused the President of sexual assault should be believed. Spoiler alert: she found arming teachers worthy of discussion, and thought asking the President's daughter about alleged sexual misdeeds to be highly inappropriate.
To me, if we had a media up to the task of protecting and preserving democracy, the statement about it being inappropriate to ask the President's daughter about any issue should have immediately led to a deeper line of questioning. I can buy that argument if said daughter is a private citizen trying to live her own life out of the spotlight. But that is not the situation we have here.
But this is how the media normalizes the debacle that is the Trump Administration. They stay on the surface and do or say nothing about all the things that are happening that are so dubious and so outside the norms of American governance and American democracy.
There should have been push back that she is not just a daughter. She is working as an adviser in the White House. That should carry with it certain responsibilities and answering to the American people, in this case through their proxy, American journalists.
The natural progression should have been a series of questions such as:
- Should members of the President's family be able to serve in capacities such as she and her husband are serving
- What training or expertise does she, or Jared for that matter, have for the duties they are being given, especially in foreign policy
- Does she have the proper security clearance to have delivered messages to the South Korean President regarding the threat of nuclear war in the Korean peninsula
And that's just for starters. Frankly any journalist interviewing Trump, or Ivanka, or Jared who doesn't raise the issue of the Emoluments Clause to the Constitution, and how the Trumps and Kushners are using their positions in the White House to make money for themselves and their businesses, is not doing their job. You don't even have to get into money laundering or alleged criminal activity being run out of the Oval Office. Just deal with obviously enriching themselves at the public trough and how foreign countries are using this to essentially bribe them.
What is further infuriating is that you know damned well if a Democratic Administration did a tenth of what the Trump Administration is doing, the press would be all over it, and Congress would be holding hearings around the clock.
But for whatever reasons they are not doing their jobs. That is partially why we are where we are today. Certain items should be asked every day. Yes you'll be ridiculed and called 'fake news'. But being popular and getting to sit at the cool table with the cool kids didn't used to be why people became journalists. It was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable as I recall. Too many of today's journalists, especially the ones on television, want to be among the comfortable, if they aren't already.
Today's crank, over and out.