Media critic Eric Boehlert tore into the press for playing straight into Trump and Republicans' hands with their coverage of the right's latest drummed up faux "scandal."
May 17, 2020

Eric Boehlert, who slammed the press this week for their deafening silence on the fact that Trump has been unraveling before our eyes and is completely unfit to hold the office in which he now serves, had another dose of reality for the media and the way they've handled Trump and the Republicans latest drummed up faux "scandal."

MSNBC's Joy Reid asked Boehlert how the media can stop playing into Trump's hands, which they unwittingly do by even saying the name of this latest ploy by the right to distract from the tens of thousands of dead Americans, and the mismanagement of this pandemic by the Trump administration, and Boehlert was spot on with what the headlines should have been after Trump's latest nervous breakdown on Twitter.

REID: This week the game was to try to get the media to say a word, that had the word Obama in it, right? And get people then to do stories about it and think pieces about it and get into that. We don't say that on this particular show because that isn't a real thing. It actually isn't... it doesn't exist. So they want us to talk about a thing that isn't real, that doesn't exist, but just say the word, say it, so it gets into the vernacular. Maybe it will trend. This is a game, and the media, how does the media un... stop playing it?

BOEHLERT: Well, the media just has to detach itself from the Trump non-reality. People have been saying, this is kind of 2016 all over again with the emails. This is worse. There were actual emails. There was a server in 2016. There was an investigation. The press wildly inflated it. Thousands and thousands of stories about it.

There is no Obama/story, the one you're talking about. Trump was asked about it at a press conference and he couldn't even articulate what it was. So, it's worse if we're going to take this seriously.

Trump last Sunday on Mother's Day, 127 tweets... 126 tweets. The story the next day should have been “President Suffers Nervous Breakdown.” That's what it was. Anyone who watched it in real time. That's not even questionable.

If a friend of mine had done that, I would have sent him a note, “Are you okay? What's going on?” But that was not the story. The story the next day was, Trump launches this Obama-blank thing.

So, you know, the Biden campaign is being very interesting, not only on the Obama story this week but all these other rants and guttural claims that Trump and his son are making. The Biden campaign isn't taking the bait.

The Biden campaign understands there is such overexposure with Trump that it would be ridiculous to respond to every insult, every put-down.

But the press, as Gabe was mentioning, is wed to this idea that if the president of the United States is behind that podium with the seal, and if he says something, we must report it.

The only headline that should have been everywhere this week was “Trump Lies About Obama.” That's the headline. But no one really has the courage to say it.

We saw lots of process stories. We saw this ridiculous notion that this is all some sophisticated strategy to go after Obama. It's Trump raging in the dark. That's all it is. There is not a Republican strategist in this country who said a week ago, "We really need to bring back Obama. That's what's going to help Trump."

REID: Remind people —

BOEHLERT: -- yes, exactly.

REID: Bring back the most popular president in the last generation and also remind everyone that Russia helped trump. Yeah, that doesn't seem that smart to me.

As we've said here repeatedly, the media needs to stop covering these Trump press briefings live, and fact-check anything he says before putting it on their airways. As Boehlert discussed in the segment above, they've learned nothing from the days of "but her emails" in 2016.

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