CA.) -- Now that
Trump has been president for
almost a year, it’s time the media called his behavior for what it is
than try to normalize it. Here are the six most misleading media
conduct unbecoming a president:
Calling Trump’s tweets “presidential “statements” or “press releases.” “The
President is the President of the United States, so they’re considered
statements by the President of the United States,” Trump’s first press
secretary, Sean Spicer, said last
June when asked during his
daily briefing how his tweets should be characterized
are mostly rants off the top of his head – many of them wild,
rude, crude, and bizarre.
statements are products of careful thought. Advisers weigh in.
considered. Alternatives are deliberated. Which is why such statements
considered important indicators of public policy, domestically and
are relevant only to judging his mood on a particular day at a
Referring to Mar-A-Lago as “the
Winter White House.” The
White House says the term is accurate because
Trump does official
business from there, and, besides, Mar-A-Lago’s former owner wanted the
Beach estate to
become a presidential retreat.
White House and Camp David, the traditional presidential retreat, both
are owned by taxpayers, Mar-a-Lago is a profit-making business owned by
White House is
open for public tours; Mar-a-Lago is open only to members who can pay
with the other Trump resort properties that he visits regularly,
massive conflict of interest. Every visit promotes the Trump resort
adding directly to Trump’s wealth.
make money off the presidency. Trump does. His resorts should be called
they are – Trump’s businesses.
his lies “false
claims” or “comments
to be inaccurate.” Baloney.
They’re lies, plain and simple.
last year the Wall Street Journal’s
editor-in-chief insisted that
the Journal wouldn’t
label Trump’s false statements as “lies.” Lying,
said the editor, requires a deliberate intention to mislead, which
proven in Trump’s case.
fall, NPR’s then news director, Michael Oreskes defended NPR’s
use the term “liar” when describing Trump, explaining that
the word constitutes “an
angry tone” of “editorializing” that “confirms opinions.”
January, Maggie Haberman, a leading Times’ political reporter, claimed that
her job was “showing
when something untrue is said. Our job is not to say ‘lied.’”
presidents may exaggerate; some occasionally lie. But Trump has taken
an entirely new level. He lies like other people breath. Almost nothing
comes out of his mouth can assumed to be true.
Trump, lying is
part of his overall strategy, his MO, and his pathology. Not to call
or to deem him a liar, is itself misleading.
Referring to Trump’s and his aide’s possible “cooperation”
with Russia in the 2016
won’t due. “Cooperation”
and “coordination” sound as if Trump and his campaign assistants were
being polite to the Russians, engaged in a kind of innocent parallel
what we’ve seen and heard so far suggests politeness or innocence.
is the proper word, suggesting complicity in a conspiracy.
true – if Trump or
his aides did collude with the Russians to throw the election his way –
were engaged in treason, another important
word that rarely appears
in news reports.
Calling Trump’s and Paul Ryan’s next move “welfare reform,” as
has suggested more than once that welfare
reform might be the next big legislative item on his agenda.”
going after “welfare.” Welfare – federal public assistance to the poor
gutted in 1996. Trump and Ryan are aiming at Medicaid, Medicare, and
are they seeking to “reform” these programs. They want to cut them in
pay for the huge tax cut they’ve given corporations and the wealthy.
going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform,”
Ryan said recently,
“which is how you
tackle the debt and the deficit.”
call it what it
is: Planned cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
Describing Trump’s comments as “racially
charged” sounds like Trump doesn’t intend them to be racist but some
hear them that way. Rubbish.
recent harangue against immigrants from “shitholes” in Latin America
comes only weeks after The New York Timesreported that
at another Oval Office
meeting Trump said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that
visit the US would never “go back to their huts.”
is the man who
built his political career on the racist lie that Barack Obama was born
Africa, who launched his presidential campaign with racist comments
Mexican immigrants, who saw “fine people on both sides” in the
march of white supremacists, and who attacked African-American football
for being “unpatriotic” because they kneeled during the National Anthem
protest police discrimination.
is the same man
who in 1989 took out full page ads in New York newspapers demanding the
of the death penalty so it could be applied to five black and Latino
accused of raping a white woman in Central Park – and who still refuses
admit his error even though they were exonerated by DNA evidence.
using terms like
“racially charged” to describe his statements. Face it. Trump is a
his comments are racist.
matter. It’s important to describe Trump accurately. Every American
understand who we have as president.
REICH is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University
Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing
secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and Time magazine
one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century.
written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The
Nations, Beyond Outrage and most recently Saving
is also a
founding editor of The American Prospect magazine,
chairman of Common
Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and
the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.