Why Can’t We Cover Trump’s Twitter Fingers and His Presidency?

 Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Vladimir TrumPutin has been a busy man since taking office. Mostly he’s been busy hiding his taxes from the American public, and hiding his relationship with Russian operatives. He’s surely spent time keeping the video of paid Russian thots R. Kelly-ing all over a hotel room out of the hands of the public, and he’s been busy vacationing. And, amid all this, the president still finds time to run a complete fool on the Twitters.

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So if the president is a more-than-capable multitasker of grandiose fuckery, why can’t the press cover it all? There is a belief by many that somehow, covering Donald Trump’s dumbass behavior in and outside the White House is taking our eyes off the real news. That somehow, reporting that Trump tweeted some inane shit—like, oh, I don’t know, that former President Barack Obama broke the law and secretly wiretapped Trump Tower, a claim that White House press secretary Sean “Spicy Facts” Spicer is currently walking back—means we can’t cover the 123 pages that make up Trumpcare.

Earlier in TrumPutin’s presidency, when it became clear that the entire administration was basically running around the White House like a young Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow vowed that she wouldn’t report on TrumPutin’s Twitter feed.

“We developed sort of an informal, internal mantra … which is that we basically cover [the Trump administration] as if they are a silent movie,” Maddow told TheWrap earlier this month. “I stopped covering the Twitter feed, and we started covering only what they do rather than what they say.

“I really feel like it was helpful to me, in terms of trying to come up with what to talk about every day, and serving up information for our audience that is substantive and not manipulated by people at the White House,” she added. “It was helpful for us to just stop paying attention to what they were saying.”

This administration is much like a drunk friend crying all over your back seat because he lost his watch. It’s really a nurturing, even motherly response to ignore the persistent screams from this petulant administration, and I get it. At this point it’s also self-preservation, and covering every ridiculous tweet or “alternative fact” is maddening. I understand the desire to ignore the word vomit that comes from the merry band of jesters, but I wonder if that is the best way to treat a presidency.

We signed up to do this, and I believe that ignoring a huge portion of this administration’s tantrum-laced rants is really doing a disservice to the American people. And I think we can all agree that the press can cover both the president’s Twitter rants and his public policies, or lack thereof. Because the real news is that the president of the United States, the 45th president, is an orange-tinted megalomaniac who does more tweeting then press conferencing.

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Therefore, how about this: We are entitled, even obligated, to cover it all. All of the tweets. All of them. The insane Obama-wiretapping tweet; the International Woman’s Day tweet; the bullying-New York-Sen. Chuck Schumer-for-crying tweet; the investigation-into-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweet—all of it—because the people deserve to know what it is the president is saying when the filters are off.

The president has made himself so off-limits that Twitter has become the main means of hearing directly from the man. He literally won’t talk to the press. It’s gotten so bad that NPR created a widget to track the number of days since his last press conference. Trump won the White House in November. Since then, he has held two solo press conferences: one in January and then an impromptu press conference in February that quickly went off the rails. Meanwhile, he’s tweeted over 200 times.

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In an opinion piece for CNN, comedian and former attorney Dean Obeidallah argued that the president was not a Kardashian, so it was time for the press to stop treating him like one. How about, the president is totally a Kardashian who built his following on a shitty reality show and a lame catchphrase. How about, the current president used to troll on Twitter tweeting out random shit like this:

Illustration for article titled Why Can’t We Cover Trump’s Twitter Fingers and His Presidency?
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And this:

Illustration for article titled Why Can’t We Cover Trump’s Twitter Fingers and His Presidency?
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And then there’s this:

Illustration for article titled Why Can’t We Cover Trump’s Twitter Fingers and His Presidency?
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It’s important for the public to get a full view of the public servant whom Klansmen, white men and women, racists and Midwesterners voted into office. And it’s the duty of the press to expose all parts of the man. If he wants to be hateful and spiteful on Twitter when not working in favor of the 1 percent, what’s wrong with covering it all?

Twitter is a public forum that has cost regular folks and politicians their jobs, and the president shouldn’t be absolved because we realize that he can’t control himself when he tweets. And besides, when did the press start selectively deciding what the president really means or doesn’t mean? The job of the press is always to call bullshit bullshit when that’s what it is.

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The real outrage is having a president who’s not mature enough to handle the demands of the office, but since we have what we have, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to report all the ignorant shit he does and says while in office. As long as they serve drinks in the kiddie pool, I’m just fine wading here, and it doesn’t mean that I can’t see the bigger picture. It’s kind of the reason we have two eyes.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

DISCUSSION

"Hachi"

Morning Stephen.

I have mixed feelings about the role of the press right now. I agree that the press can cover all of the “administration’s” actions but what has occurred is that the most egregious offenses are taking a back seat to the circus show. I am afraid that the Americans will not understand that this is happening while they talk about Spicy Facts back-peddling on the wiretapping claims. I have no faith in the American public to do anything proactive and have pretty much resolved, in my mind, that the American public will be content to let it all go up in flames because they aren’t smart enough to know better (save for the few of us who have devoted an arm and a limb to fight back against the “administration”). At times, it feels like the nightly news shows and other press outlets resort to viral clips or blips of coverage (hello CNN you keep propping up those problematic folks and you need to cut that shit out). So, for me, it feels like while we should have coverage of all of the “administration’s” actions, we just can’t. Because the American public is very dumb and only responds to content that is 1) viral; 2) entertaining (i.e. in the circus sense) or 3) spoon-fed to them. Simply put, I don’t trust the American public to take in any news and filter out coverage.