News legend, anchor Dan Rather called modern mainstream media out for catering to Donald Trump on Friday with an epic rant on his Facebook page. The former CBS newsman has had enough, and decided it was time for someone to tell the truth:
‘Donald Trump’s disdain, mockery, and antagonism of the press, whose freedoms are enshrined in the Bill of Rights and whose presence has provided ballast to our democracy since its inception, raises very serious questions about his fitness for the presidency of the United States.’
Apparently, Rather has been holding back quite a while, and feels that many others in the news business have been swallowing hard throughout these last 18 months while a reality TV star runs for the highest office in the land. Rather continued:
‘For a long while, these thoughts have been coursing through my veins with concern and disbelief, and yet my abiding loyalty to the notion of fair, accurate and unbiased journalism held me in check from saying it out loud – much as I suspect it has muzzled the true feelings of many of my colleagues. But we must remember that Donald Trump knows this and cynically plays the press corps’ deep desire for fairness to his undeserved benefit. The latest, barring the traveling press from covering an event and using them as ridicule in a speech, are but the most recent chapters in a novel full of outrageous acts. And this sentiment apparently extends to members of his own family as witnessed by his daughter Ivanka’s actions in an interview with Cosmo.’
Ivanka Trump stormed out of an interview with Cosmopolitan when she decided that the interviewer as too “negative.” She also didn’t seem to think that the press should ask her about the details of her father’s new “maternity” plan for women. According to Ivanka, the plan is better than nothing, and she sure didn’t want to talk about the time her father said that pregnant employees were “inconvenient,” much, either.
It’s also much like Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who cut off an interview on Wednesday when the reporter began to question him closely about the Donald J. Trump Foundation charity funds being used improperly.
Rather also seems to be completely aware of the fact that many right-wingers will insult him over his opinions. But he couldn’t care less:
‘I am well aware that I will be met with bile and venom for saying this, called a communist, a liberal in bed with Hillary Clinton, a washed-up joke. To quote Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Let others attack my motives. My conscience is clean. This is not about partisan politics, about who is right on immigration or gun control. This is about the very machinery that has allowed our American experiment to persist and thrive, a machinery which is far more fragile than we would like to believe.’
Considering the fact that the media has provided Trump with billions of dollars worth of press coverage, making it possible for him to get all the way through and win the primary with nary an advertising dollar spent, Rather is right on the money to criticize them for making this amateur politician’s rise to power possible in the first place.
‘Trump’s relationship with the press is at the heart of so much that is troubling about his candidacy – the secrecy, the lack of transparency on something as normal as tax returns, the flaunting of the very rules by which we elect our leaders, the appeasement of hate groups. And his embrace of Roger Ailes and Breitbart, institutions who have polluted press freedoms, is a further dangerous sign of decay.’
Hiring alt-right frontman Steve Bannon and retweeting white supremacists has only been part of Trump’s race-baiting and hate-filled rhetoric. His candidacy has normalized — no, legitimized — hatred, racism, sexism, as perfectly reasonable “political differences.”
‘And yet when presented with this challenge, too much of the press has been cowed into inaction. This is a man who can be fact-checked into obscurity by any second grader with an Internet connection. And yet when he issues a mealy-mouth non-apology about President Obama’s obvious pedigree as an American, here we are with too many in the press not acknowledging his years of lies (check your Twitter feeds about how the New York Times initially covered this event). All of this of course sets the stage for Trump to lie again about somehow birtherism being Clinton’s fault.’
Rather then adds an entreaty to current news reporters, to make sure that Trump’s lies and opaque distractions are nipped n the bud:
‘I fear that this mindset will infect the debates. Trump is already setting the stage for that. If you are moderating and are not going to fact check him, you might as well just roll campaign speeches live — far too many of which have been shown on television without being subjected to journalistic context. If these debates will be debates in name only, another opportunity for Trump to flout fairness by spewing his venom and bullshine, I say cancel them.
‘Enough is enough. It is a reality that every reporter must come to grips with. Trump is not a normal candidate. This is not a normal election. He will set a precedent that other demagogues will study and follow. Fear, combined with the lure of ratings, views, clicks and profits, have hypnotized too much of the press into inaction and false equivalency for far too long. I am optimistic the trance is being broken. Fear not the Internet trolls. Fear instead the judgement of history.’
Only eight weeks remain until the final “judgment of history,” and it’s long past time for journalists to get over the novelty of The Orange One running for president and start investigating to find out if he’s actually fit for the job before it’s too late. Hopefully, mainstream media will heed the wise words of Dan Rather and let integrity reign over profits, and they’ll move into action soon to call Trump out on every lie and on every distraction from full disclosure.