Silly me. I thought that because the DOJ’s criminal investigation and indictment process against Donald Trump has played out so publicly, once Trump finally announced a phony 2024 “campaign” as part of his attempt at monetizing his own downfall, the media would accurately portray it as such. That’s what I get for once again underestimating the media’s eagerness to feed us scary bullshit in the name of pursuing ratings and page views.
Of all the major media headlines last night about Trump’s campaign “announcement,” not a single one of them referenced the fact that the DOJ is in court right now working through the late stages of the sorting process of the evidence seized from Trump’s home. The DOJ has made publicly visible court filings in the case this week. Trump’s impending indictment isn’t some abstract concept. It’s something that’s playing out right in front of our eyes. Trump is in the process of being criminally indicted on the most serious of charges. The timing of his “campaign” annocement makes it abundantly clear that his announcement is a pure countermove to what the DOJ is currently doing to him.
To report that Trump has announced a 2024 campaign, while downplaying or omitting the fact that he’s doing this because he’s in the process of being criminally indicted on espionage-related charges, is to report the story falsely. Imagine someone is robbing a bank, and the bank manager puts a stop to it by punching the bank robber, and the resulting headline ignores the bank robbery angle and simply declares “Area bank manager punches customer.” When you leave out the piece of information that defines the entire story, it turns into false reporting.
Even NPR, which is being credited for referencing Trump’s crimes in its headline, still blew the story. Even that merely serves to make Trump look bad, while giving the false impression that his crimes came and went, nothing was done about it, and he’s now on his way to being a 2024 candidate. It completely omits the fact that he’s in the process of being criminally indicted, even though again, the DOJ has made court filings this week in its escalating criminal case against Trump.
The media just couldn’t resist the opportunity last night to omit the only part of the story that mattered. It left out the context that would have allowed audiences to understand what was actually happening. It chose to disinform the public by portraying Trump as someone who is now free and clear to run for President in 2024. The media knowingly fed the public the false impression that the DOJ criminal case against Trump must have been dropped or something, because why else would the media now be portraying him as someone who will be able to participate in an upcoming election cycle?
At some point we have to draw the line against this kind of media dishonestly and begin actively pushing back. The media is intentionally feeding the public the false perception that Donald Trump is in the clear and will be a participant in the 2024 election, so it can turn around in a few weeks or months and bring you the shocking breaking news that the DOJ has criminally indicted Trump.
The media is dishonestly chasing ratings right now by pretending Trump isn’t in the process of being indicted. And when he is indicted, the media will chase ratings once again by pretending that it’s “unprecedented” and no one could have seen it coming. And people will fall for it. We’re the ones who follow this stuff closely enough to know better. We’re the ones who have to educate the general public that this is not what’s going on, that the media is trying to play them for fools, and that they don’t have to sit back and let the media terrorize them like this. Knowledge is power. Now let’s use our power to factually push back against the media’s games, and force the media to start covering these kinds of things more honestly and accurately.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report