Objectively speaking, Donald Trump’s State of the Union address will be a disaster this week. At best he’ll lifelessly stick to a generic script written by someone else that he’s never even bothered to look at before taking the stage. At worst he’ll go off script and remind us that he’s the most unsuitable and unstable person to ever occupy the office. But unless he accidentally sets his podium on fire, most of the mainstream media will declare his speech a success. How do we know this? Because we’ve seen this movie before.
The mainstream media makes most of its decisions based on the fear of looking biased in the eyes of the people in the middle who think “unbiased” means “everything split 50-50.” Nearly every story about Trump is objectively negative. He’s historically unpopular. He’s historically corrupt. He has few accomplishments. He’s on his way to prison for treason. His words and deeds are routinely racist, sexist, xenophobic, dishonest, unstable, and often psychotic. There is no way to accurately report on Trump without looking “biased” in the eyes of the idiots in the middle.
Accordingly, mainstream media pundits – on the left and right – are always looking to throw Trump an occasional bone. It’s not necessarily about appeasing him; media ratings are up across the board since Trump began demonizing the media. It’s about appeasing those dummies in the middle, who obsessively attack any news outlet as being “biased” if that news outlet is deemed to be too mean to one side or the other.
The easiest way for the media to hand Donald Trump an arbitrary “win” is to take a fleeting moment, such as a major speech, and praise it to high heaven. Trump’s speech was a “success” because he didn’t actually start World War III with his words. Trump’s speech was “presidential” because he didn’t actually give the Nazi salute during the most racist parts of it. We saw the media hand Trump a phony win a year ago when his first address to Congress was a low-key failure. The media will do it again with the State of the Union. Then a day later it’ll be right back to accurately calling out his infinite failures.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report