Normalizing, Comforting, and Why It’s NOT YOUR FUCKING JOB RIGHT NOW

They can’t help themselves:

Is there a keyboard macro or something?

Here’s some truly cowardly shit:

There’s also this:

And this:

Look. It’s hard covering something that’s never happened before.

Everybody has a script for stuff. Things usually go the way they go. And you can write and talk in the expected ways, and it will be fine.

AND THEN THE US GOES AND ELECTS AS PRESIDENT A RACIST SERIAL SEX PREDATOR.

What do you do then?

We want consensus. We want to go along to get along. We want everything to be okay.

So what do we have to do to make things okay? Well, first of all, clearly WE have to make things okay, because Donald Trump is not going to make things okay. He’s not going to be presidential. He’s not going to act normal. He’s not going to rescind a single insane misogynist bullying thing he said on the campaign trail or in his victory speech. So if things are going to be okay with a guy like this WE have to force them to be okay.

How do you make that happen?

You use the words you’ve always used. You talk about unity and respect for the office. You attribute uncomfortable truths to “critics” and make with cutesy headline puns and find a picture of Trump where he doesn’t look like a chickenfried fuckmuppet, and you plug that picture into the same cover you’ve used for every single president since the beginning of time.

You keep pretending the quicksand beneath you is bedrock and always has been. You keep saying both sides. You keep saying transition of power.

That way, everything sounds okay.

Everything looks okay.

Story after story comes out about Trump, about his kids getting security clearances, about his appointing a violent racist to his staff, about the collections of fools and ten-a-penny fascisti with which he’s surrounding himself, and what do you do?

Keep saying it. Critics say. Rhetoric on both sides. The election was negative. Everyone wants to move on. Give him a chance.

On the part of the politicians, this is laziness and cynicism and maybe for some of them abject terror: If they don’t work with this guy the way they worked with the last guy and the last 43 guys before that, then they have to come up with a whole new way of doing stuff which is hard, potentially costly to them politically, and maybe not even possible because he doesn’t recognize their humanity. I would not want to be Barbara Boxer or Tammy Baldwin alone in the East Room with that prick.

On the part of journalists, though, this comforting routine? This familiarity? It’s a goddamn betrayal.

You talk all day long at me about how you are the last guardians of American democracy, about how you hold us back from oblivion, about how you shine a light in dark places for all the country to see and are the watchers on the wall and all that shit.

Yet in the face of an actual threat to democracy, in the face of an actual world-shaking event the likes of which comes along once in a generation you cower in the corner and you say “critics say” and you cling to your keyboard macros that say “both sides” and “he doesn’t really mean it” and “provocateur” and “softening” and “the gravity of the office.” You cover this as if it’s normal.

I don’t even think half this shit is conscious. I think half of it is just … fucking DUMB, okay, like you can’t stop yourself long enough to tear the whole thing apart and do it differently.

The urge to conformity is a powerful one, maybe the most powerful force in the world. A lot of us have been on autopilot for a long fucking time, expecting the stories to write themselves, with maybe a minor variation here or there. So we meet the new challenge primarily with a whine about what else we’re supposed to do.

It’s HAAARRRRDDD MOM.

It’s not an easy thing, I’ll grant, to discover that what you thought would be good enough is utterly useless, but challenge yourselves, please, because actual lives are at risk. Sack up. Do it anyway. Figure out what you need to say and find a way with your institutional voice to say it. Cover every outrage as the outrage that it is. Trump doesn’t deserve one normal thing. He isn’t normal. He shouldn’t get normal in return.

That sinking feeling you didn’t do everything you could to stop this from happening? LISTEN TO IT. Change now before it’s too late and that feeling becomes your life.

A.

 

2 thoughts on “Normalizing, Comforting, and Why It’s NOT YOUR FUCKING JOB RIGHT NOW

  1. I have a very hard-wired bullshit detector. It isn’t having ANY of this “normal now” crap. Already planning to attend a massive “Fuck 2016” party on December 21st.

    Like

  2. The media is normalizing this shit, just like they did back in 2000. And yet Trump is far, FAR worse than Bush II. Yep, the media failed us, and they can’t even look at themselves in the fucking mirror to see that yes, they allowed the country to get tossed over the fence and given the business. They spent too much time on a nothingburger and put out so much “both sides” bullshit that they ended up not being able to see the truth even when it was standing right there in front of them.

    And now they’re panicking, because the guy whose knob they polished is treating them like dirt.

    There are, of course, honorable exceptions, starting with Kurt Eichenwald. He’s been doing his job as a journalist–but it’s too bad that many of his fellow journalists are a bunch of cowards.

    Liked by 1 person

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