It's time for the networks to stop airing Trump's racism and authoritarianism unfilitered.
Donald Trump's South Lawn rant on Monday, where he interrupted a planned gathering while reporters were yards away to address his weekend racist attacks on four freshman female Democratic Congressmen turned into a scene straight out of his awful Charlottesville comments. You may recall that he claimed there were very fine Nazis at an anti-Semitic rally where they shouted "Jews will not replace us!"
That moment shook up his administration and most of America. It also informed us all as to who Donald Trump is and what he believes. At that moment, there was no doubt that his sympathies lay with the neo-Nazis and not the dead and injured one of them left behind.
Monday was Trump's Charlottesville 2.0.
Trump not only defended his racist attacks by using white nationalist's terms even though three of the Congresswomen were born in America, and the other became a naturalized U,S. citizen and was elected to office by the people in her district. Nevertheless, he continued to smear and vilify Rep. Omar by lying about her praising Al Qaeda. That is the kind of rhetoric that could result in her facing physical harm, or death. And that would be just fine with Donald Trump.
Cable TV networks (I wish I could include include Fox "News") need to start thinking more critically on how to handle Trump's hate speech, now that the 2020 general election season has begun.
Trump is unlike any other President of this country. He spews an unparalleled amount of lies, hateful rhetoric, racism, outright bigotry and xenophobia on a daily basis and the news networks know that about him, even if they do coat their descriptions in unhelpful euphemisms (except for CNN recently).
The presidency is called the bully pulpit for a good reason, but Trump has redefined it into a megaphone to promote racism, white nationalism, neo-Nazism, and anti-democratic values on a massive scale while ignoring the U.S. Constitution and its core values. This is not new.
Trump desperately tried to win the 2018 midterm elections by claiming America was being invaded by dirty, filthy migrants who were bringing diseases, gang members drugs, sex traffickers and terrorists. The strategy failed miserably, but once again, cable networks understood exactly what he was doing and why. That didn't stop them from streaming his lies, whether they came from a pool spray in the Oval Office, one of his Marine One shouty press conferences on the South Lawn, or a press opportunity with foreign leaders.
If Trump is in front of a microphone and cameras, he will lie, verbally assault people of color, women, and others who represent the Democratic party. When the cameras are on, it is as if they were actual terrorists attacking America. And again, the cable networks know this. He has shown us this over and over.
Trump's conduct since his inaugural is a first in my lifetime, it is deviant behavior, and the media needs to address how they deal with it immediately.
His behavior cannot be broadcast unfiltered any longer as if it is the new normal, lies and all.
America's media has a responsibility to its viewers to act responsibly and not help perpetuate hatred throughout the country. That means no more unflltered unedited streams. This country did fine for well over 200 years without real time, stream of consciousness live video streams. Networks have a responsibility to capture the moment on video, fact check it, and broadcast the fact check ahead of the lie. There is no need to put the lie out there and then scramble to unring the bell. DO NOT RING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Normally I wouldn't be this outspoken about the press covering a sitting U.S. president and asking them to act responsibly since they have a duty to the American people, but Trump is abnormal. He will hold political rally after rally, shrugging the office of the presidency aside in an effort to upstage the Democratic primaries and every candidate there even before Super Tuesday in 2020.
When he was a presidential candidate in 2016 Trump received millions upon millions of free advertising dollars from all cable networks who slavishly live-streamed everything he did, including empty podiums.
That is not ethical.
He has shown us who he is. He is a liar, a racist, an autocrat, and an authoritarian. There is no need for any cable news or news radio network to let him set the narrative and the agenda with his lies. It's time for them to do their job and report news, not the ravings of a pissed off old man.
Karoli Kuns contributed to this article