Donald Trump is on the verge of killing/locking up/deporting millions of Americans should he win the most fateful election of our lifetimes. Or so the hysterical anti-Trump factions of the media would have you believe. Scare stories and warnings of impending atrocities at the hands of the once and potentially future president are rife across the airwaves, with notable talking heads making claims that – if they were about any other person – would be laughable. But how can once-respectable journalists purposely take every denigrating angle against the 45th president whilst wilfully closing their eyes when it comes to the 46th?
It comes down to one factor alone: How much histrionic speculation are the denizens of the Fourth Estate willing to embrace?
Scarborough’s Minority Report
On network television, in the pages of media organs, and across the internet, the cry is heard: Trump’s election will be the end of democracy. It’s a common refrain, closely followed by the idea that Trump is at least as bad, and maybe even worse than, Hitler. This, of course, is not a new strain of hyperbole; Washington’s most notable newspaper ran the headline “Don’t compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler” way back in 2016. But the hysterics for 2024 have taken on a perhaps even more irrational flavor.
Television host Joe Scarborough, for instance, without a hint of irony, recently called out people who were “shilling” for Donald Trump. He then went on an unhinged rant that – even for Morning Joe – pushed the boundaries of sanity. “He is running to end American democracy as we know it; he is an authoritarian,” Scarborough said about Trump, then proceeding to suggest how other media outlets could “frame this” with his own definition of fairness:
“If you want to be fair, then you will frame this as Joe Biden being the candidate that supports American democracy, and Donald Trump – a candidate who supports a new form of government here, authoritarian. It’s really that simple.”
He then launched into a speech predicting dire consequences if the 45th president were to become the 47th:
“By the way, when people say ‘Oh, you can’t compare him to … this past Nazi leader, or that fascist leader because he hasn’t done it’ … well, what hasn’t he done? He hasn’t done the things that the American judicial system did not allow him to do last time. But may very well allow him to do this time. Or, a judicial system that will be ignored by Donald Trump and ran over by Donald Trump to create the greatest constitutional crisis of our lifetimes.
“Just because he hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean he won’t do it when he gets a chance to do it. And if he is voted into office, then a lot of these people who are talking about literal or figurative, or whatever the hell they’re saying, are going to look like idiots. Because he will do, he will get away with, he will imprison, he will execute whoever he’s allowed to imprison, execute – er – drive from the country. Just look at his past!”
There is a fair amount to unravel here. First, Scarborough says Trump hasn’t done “the things” yet, and then says the proof that he will is in “his past.” Yes, it’s a headscratcher. Another accusation is that the only reason Trump didn’t engage in heinous acts was because the judicial system did not allow him to do so – translation: Trump followed the law. Not only was Scarborough’s screed illogical, full of contradictions, and downright melodramatic, but it was also politically illiterate to the point where any audience he may have begun with would likely have tuned out by the end.
Scarborough’s is just one voice in a thousand decrying the future crimes of Trump. Another example delivered without a shred of irony comes courtesy of Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY). “[Trump’s] rhetoric is really getting dangerous,” Goldman said to former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on her MSNBC show. He continued, offering the following political analysis:
“More and more dangerous. We saw what happened on January 6th, when he used his inflammatory rhetoric now, and his recent truth social post is incredibly, incredibly scary for anyone that might be trying to work in government. And it is just unquestionable at this point that man cannot see public office again. He is not only unfit, he is destructive to our democracy, and he has to be eliminated.”
Calling for the former president to be “eliminated”? And yet, according to Goldman, it is Trump whose “rhetoric is really getting dangerous.”
These hysterical claims echo similar accusations across the media landscape. Their call, in unison, belies their façade of confidence in the current president that they so faithfully protect.
Former White House doctor and current GOP Representative Ronny Jackson (TX) expressed his concern over President Biden’s mental acuity, both now and going forward into a potential second term. “[The decline is] happening quickly,” Jackson said. So, I know firsthand what it takes to be the commander-in-chief and the head of state. It’s a grueling job, both mentally and physically. This man can’t do the job. He’s proven to us every single day that he can’t do the job, but this is going to get worse.” His summation – should it be taken seriously – was damning:
“It’s just unbelievable how much he’s degenerated just during his time in office. We cannot afford to have this man in office for the remainder of this term and then [for] another four years after that. He’s already putting us at great risk right now.”
And why would a medical doctor who has served in the White House under George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump not be taken seriously? It seems that such a dire prognosis is unwelcome news in the annals of the media.
Washington, DC’s most prominent news outlet ignored Dr. Jackson’s words entirely. The New York Times likewise did not put a single column inch forward on the topic – despite covering Donald Trump’s most recent health report in great detail, describing it as “fawning and vague.” In fact, considering Jackson’s tenure as a bipartisan physician trusted by both sides of the political divide for his medical expertise, the list of outlets that refused to print even a single word of his indictment is shocking in itself:
This is not to suggest that the above Biden-friendly media has stayed entirely away from issue of the president’s cognitive decline, but the manner and frequency in which it is addressed leaves little doubt that pooh-poohing the topic is the dominant strategy. A search for the term “cognitive” at the above outlets brings up a wealth of articles on AI themes and computer science development, and yet only a tiny handful of columns deal with the keyword when relating to politicians. For example, ABC ran a Sept. 5 story titled “Too old to hold office? A political flashpoint amid Americans’ concerns,” which dealt primarily with the ill-health of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the late Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Eventually, the spotlight was turned upon the president before being swiftly dismissed as the authors highlighted his many “successes.”
A Simple Equation
In essence, Biden is on a downward trajectory, both physically and politically. The agenda for which he is the figurehead has been rejected by the American people as either an assault on their freedoms, far-left progressive antics, or nice ideas proven unworkable. Trump, on the other hand, appears to be on the ascendancy. He has beaten Biden in the ten most recent polls and, at this point in time, stands a good chance of reclaiming the White House.
Those who write fear-mongering hyperbole do so not because they have concerns for the fate of the country – indeed, a president with severe cognitive impairment would be a genuine reason for anxiety – but because they fear for themselves. Their stranglehold on public opinion slipped during the Trump years, their influence waned, and they were left as proverbial emperors disrobed and shamed.
It seems that there are zero lengths to which the legacy media will not go in order to preserve itself – truth and decorum be damned.