If there is a silver lining to Donald Trump’s disastrous nascent presidency it is the media. For many years, they have been witnesses to historical events rather than active participants challenging the status quo in their dissemination of information to the public. By way of example, if you compare Watergate-era reporting to that of the events leading to two wars in Iraq, there does not appear to be any appropriate comparison. All that changed with the election of Donald Trump which is turning daily into a veritable feeding frenzy by various print and online news sources into his behavior since becoming the most powerful leader of the most powerful nation on earth.
We have heard Donald Trump using the expression “fake news” which he uses as a perjorative, although every time he makes this claim, he digs his legal hole a little deeper. For him, the actual definition of “fake news” means anything reported in the non-Fox News-based media which Donald Trump disagrees with or which points out his missteps, mistakes or downright lies. The more he throws this expression around, the more we can see the truth emerging as to his actions and those of his supporters in the months preceding and after the election. The more insults he hurls at highly respected members of the Washington legal and government establishment, the more petty and false his claims are shown to be.
The venerated Washington Post, New York Times, New York magazine, Buzzfeed, Mother Jones and other leading news sources have recently done yeoman’s work in exposing the goings-on at the White House. I believe that what woke these sleeping journalists up was Trump’s repeated attacks on our enshrined freedom of the press and his dismissive attitude to those who give us the news in order that we may be well-informed and thus, making correct observations that assist our democracy in election cycles. The extraordinary videos of “town hall”-style meetings with a newly-informed electorate charging after their elected officials makes me very proud of our Constitution. We can be forever grateful to Trump for arousing the media into doing its job better.
A by-product of this new awareness of what our government is actually up to behind closed doors is an astounding amount of money being raised for groups that Trump has attacked by word or by the cutting of their funding. Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, Democratic party organizations and the Anti-Defamation League have all recorded record donations since January 20th and even local and state elections are reaping the benefits of voter disgust and anger. Evidently, no one wants to wait until 2018 and the midterm elections to make their voices heard. Just as Trump has aroused the wrath of the media, they, in turn, have aroused our sleeping electorate. Whereas a few scattered elections are taking place this year, we will still have to wait to see longterm benefits of an energized electorate in future elections.
As the media are reporting, Donald Trump’s profoundly misguided assistance to Russia will come back to haunt him. Many speak of impeachment; but frankly, malfeasance, bribery, violating the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution and even treason seem more realistic charges. The news media are now filled with interviews with the likes of Richard Ben Veniste, the venerated Watergate prosecutor, and other Watergate-era heroes. Whereas there are parallels to be made, Even Richard Nixon knew when to give up and resign. Of course, he was not the narcissist that Donald Trump is, although Donald Trump was not wise enough to not poke the media in the eye while they were napping. What he has stirred he has sorely miscalculated. This will be his undoing.