The White House isn't the only institution guilty of failing to lead during our current pandemic. So are major news outlets that refuse to use their voice to demand change in the face of historic, deadly failure.
May 16, 2020

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Unfurling a West Wing nervous breakdown, Trump spent Mother's Day tweeting like a true mad man, posting and re-posting more than 120 missives. The rants ricocheted from alleged crimes by Democrats, to an array of perceived enemies swirling around his head, including a cable TV host, FBI officials, and the entire state of California.

The President of the United States collapsed into another of his bewildering and manic bouts of anger, while a public health crisis crippled the U.S. economy, and it was met with mostly shoulder shrugs from the Beltway media, which refuses to demand that the mad man resign for the good of the country.

The White House isn't the only institution guilty of failing to lead during our current pandemic. So are major news outlets that refuse to use their voice to demand change in the face of historic, deadly failure, as Trump refused to protect America from the virus invasion. The media failure is especially galling since more than 100 newspapers in the 1990s loudly demanded a Democratic president step down for the good of the country. That president's sin? He lied about an extramarital affair he was having.

"He should resign because he has resolutely failed — and continues to fail — the most fundamental test of any president: to put his nation's interests first," USA Today announced unequivocally of Bill Clinton in September 1998. "Bill Clinton should resign, echoed the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He should resign because his repeated, reckless deceits have dishonored his presidency beyond repair." The Denver Post, Washington Times, Orlando Sentinel, San Antonio Express-News, Anchorage Daily News, and Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader were among the dailies that joined the resignation chorus.

Does anyone think the allegations of deceit lodged against Clinton's character and actions back then don't today apply to Trump? Trump has openly colluding with a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political opponent, while offering up the assistance of the Department of Justice. He froze U.S. foreign aid to make sure the overseas dirt was unearthed, hid transcripts of presidential calls on secret servers in hopes of covering up the collusion, and publically threatened to expose the crucial whistleblower, insinuating that he or she should be executed. He's also urged that a Democratic member of Congress be arrested for treason.

More? He's actively gutted the national intelligence apparatus. He's a chronic, habitual liar who's the single most destructive force in terms of misinforming the American public. He's promoted Twitter accounts that have shown support for the dangerous and demented online conspiracy theory known as QAnon. He regularly inspires white nationalist gunmen to unleash murderous attacks. He's been busy lining his pockets while serving in the Oval Office. He coddles murderous dictators. And today, nearly 85,000 Americans are dead from a pandemic, and almost 40 million Americans have lost their jobs.

"Any CEO who was deemed responsible for allowing a massive tragedy to unfold would be immediately called upon to resign or be fired, even if he or she were six months from retirement," noted former Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart in a recent CNN column on why newspapers remain silent regarding Trump's much-needed resignation.

Added Michael Steinberger at The Atlantic last week: "In the face of Trump’s catastrophic ineptitude, as well as his obvious indifference to the pain he has inflicted on the country, how has the only nationally influential voice to demand his resignation been … Howard Stern?"

It's true that clarion calls for resignation certainly would not force Trump from office. They would however, help change the national debate and more accurately reflect the crisis our country faces with a pathological liar at the helm. And quite simply, the calls would be the right, and just, thing to do.

So why the deafening silence regarding Trump today? Isn't it time for newspapers to use their public platforms to call for Trump to resign and to make the case for a return to the rule of law in the executive branch? That loud condescending voice of moral indignation that rained down on Clinton has been replaced by embarrassing timidity for Trump.

The sad truth is, the Beltway press remains afraid of Trump — they're bullied and battered. And that's changed how they deal with the White House. Specifically, they refuse to fight back. Recently, Trump unfurled nasty public insults directed at ABC News' Jonathan Karl. When asked about the ugly attack, Karl insisted Trump "insults don't matter," which obviously gives Trump a green light to keep attacking reporters and denigrate newsgathering.

This week, CBS News' Weijia Jiang was on the receiving end of Trump taunts at a Rose Garden press conference. The next day, the Washington Post reported that Trump's outburst had shocked the press corps. Noticeably absent from the article was any public condemnation from CBS News regarding Trump's wildly inappropriate attack. Maybe like Karl, CBS News doesn't think Trump insults "matter"?

If news outlets won't get serious about Trump slandering their own employees, they're never going to get serious about demanding the mad man resign.

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