Taking Trump Seriously vs Literally


Update: Spicer settles the argument take Trump literally.”I don’t know how else you would take him”

The discussion from MSNBC’s Morning Joe Friday on taking PE Trump seriously versus literally, infuriated me.  Joe’s sidekick Mika bemoaned the fact that political pundits missed how Trump voters were “feeling” and because pundits took Trump literally they missed his impending victory.

Mika may not be wrong but how voters reacted to Donald Trump certainly isn’t new.  What is disappointing is that journalists and pundits like Mika missed it and are feigning ignorance so they can pretend innocence.

Journalists and pundits like Mika would like to pretend it was not their lack of objective reporting and analysis that caused them to misjudge Trump. Mika would like us to believe that Trump voters have a deep seeded angst and feel down trodden. These feelings, according to Mika, led Trump voters to believe that Trump should not be taken literally but seriously. If Mika is to be believed, all of this is so unprecedented, journalists and pundits missed it.  What complete and utter nonsense.

Mika listen closely because apparently this is news to you:  The vast majority of Americans know that politicians exaggerate and make a lot of promises on the campaign trail that will be broken later.  We’ve always known that.  We know that when a candidate gets to Washington, their plans and proposals will get ripped apart and compromises will be made.  We know we are not electing a dictator with a magic wand.

When Americans elect a President we’re looking for someone who will set a direction we believe in.  Trump voters knew he wasn’t going to do what he said.  Politicians never do exactly what they say.  Trump’s supporters liked the direction he was going to set, “Make America Great Again”, and everything that could possibly mean.

“Make America Great Again” could mean a return to the day when everyone had a fair shot, people made enough to afford a house, a car and college for their kids. “Make America Great Again” could mean a return to the days when the US walked softly but carried a big stick, when we were The Leader of the Free World and when terrorists did not dare step foot in our country.  Trump supporters focused on the goal “Make America Great Again” not the tactics of the campaign(yes, some of those tactics were awful).  This is what American voters always do.

So Mika the media did not fail because something unprecedented happened.  The media failed because it became hypnotized by reporting on the drama of the campaign.  Even worse the media allowed itself to become part of the drama.  The headlines became about the latest reporter harassed at a Trump rally or which reporter could draw out the latest bit of nonsense from Podesta’s hacked emails first.  (Yes Mika we’ve all heard ad nauseam how Morning Joe stood up to Trump and got shunned because of it.  Whatever.  That was just another case of the media becoming the story instead of reporting on the story.)

The media became so addicted to the drama it could not see the election for what it was, a simple choice between Trump who wanted to “Make America Great Again” and inspire people and Clinton who wanted America to feel good about being “Stronger Together”.

Instead of reporting, the media staged a reality tv show between a racist and a crook.  Through all of that Trump’s simple message of “Make America Great Again” with more jobs and security resonated with voters. Clinton’s message of “Stronger Together” left the center of the country wondering what the heck she was talking about.  It’s just that simple.

So here’s my advice Mika, stop talking about yourself and lamenting the terrible job that you did and wondering how you missed the Trump upset.  For better or worse Trump will be President of the United States.  The time for whining is over.  Mika, you and the rest of the media have a far more important role to play if Trump is going to be the President we deserve.

America needs you to be functioning independent news outlets again.  Start explaining stuff again like the pro’s and con’s of  Trump’s pick for Ambassador to Israel, that China isn’t devaluing its currency and why that matters or the impact of Trump’s tweeting.

The media’s job is to report on the news not be the news or shape the news so that it seems like a reality tv show.  If the media doesn’t do its job, than the American people can’t do their job – hold President Trump and his administration accountable and responsible for the decisions he will make for America.