FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Not One Network Should Have Aired Trump’s Hate Speech

Way back in 2014 — a century ago, it feels like — President Barack Obama requested time on major networks for an Oval Office address on immigration reform.

Fearing the subject was too “political,” the broadcast networks declined, plying viewers instead with The Big Bang Theory and Bones. Few Americans saw the speech. Immigration reform withered on the vines, which were then burned to the ground in the next election.

Flash forward to January 8, 2019.

At 8:31 a.m., President Trump tweeted — again — that the “Fake News Media” was “truly the Enemy of the People.” Hours later, at 1:44 p.m., he announced that he was going to give a speech on the “National Security crisis on our Southern Border.”

By 9 p.m. the next night, all major networks, derided only the day before as “the real Opposition Party,” were carrying the speech.

How Obama’s address was “too political” for Big Bang Theory night but this one — in the middle of a government shutdown of the president’s own creation — wasn’t is beyond me.

Much worse than the inconsistency, however, is that networks aired the obviously political speech knowing perfectly well it would be chock full of lies. As of last October, The Washington Post counted, Trump was telling 30 lies a day, especially about immigrants.

And so it was. The first lie in Trump’s Oval Office address on the need for a border wall, The Post noted, “came in the first sentence,” and the lies continued “over the course of his nine-minute speech.”

The president complained about “a security crisis at the southern border,” even though undocumented crossings are at a 20-year low. He warned darkly that immigrants were shedding “American blood,” even though immigrants commit crimes at far lower rates than native-born Americans.

He seemed unaware that most drugs come through legal ports of entry, or that most unauthorized arrivals overstay their visas, rather than sneaking across the border. A wall would help… how, exactly?

The only crisis at the border is a humanitarian one of the administration’s making.

Fully 57 percent of people apprehended at the border are families and children, most fleeing violence and poverty and trying to (legally!) seek asylum. Trump has greeted them with tear gas, violence, and cages, and blamed desperate parents when their children die in his custody.

But facts are beside the point. The point is systematic disinformation, to the point that facts mean nothing. And besides state violence, The Nation’s George Zornick notes, this kind of climate encourages all manner of private violence.

The man who killed 11 Jews in Pittsburgh cited the congregation’s work settling refugees as a motive. Around the same time, three men in Kansas were arrested for plotting to murder Somali immigrants before the election.

Hate crimes have increased for three years straight, the FBI notes — continuously since the Trump campaign.

Mainstream media outlets can fact check false claims all they want — that’s their job. But if they’re giving a free platform to those lies in the first place — across every network! — then Trump may have a point that they’re not acting in the best interest of the people.

The president is going to demonize the media no matter what they do. So what do they have to lose by doing the right thing? That means not airing one second of lies calculated to misinform, spread hate, and justify violence against desperate families. For once, airing Big Bang Theory reruns would have been a public service.

More articles by:

January 23, 2019
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail