“The Press is the Light that Makes the Roaches Scatter”
by teacherken –
That is the next to last line of a powerful New York Times column by the inimitable Charles M. Blow, titled Trump, Archenemy of Truth.
You need to read it, absorb it, pass it on.
That line perfectly encapsulates the truth about the attacks of Bannon and Trump at CPAC against the press that rightfully calls the President to account for his truths.
You will read selections from the remarks of both men. Those I do not need to reproduce.
You will read Blow’s analysis of what Bannon is arguing — that the economic nationalism of Trump is a threat to the profitability of papers like the one for which Blow writes, a threat
so urgent that the American media is willfully damaging the only real asset it has — credibility — by inventing falsehoods designed to damage Trump and insulate its own profitability.
And this works because of Trump:
As far-fetched as this may sound to any reasonable person, one must always remember that Trump isn’t a reasonable person or even a particularly smart one, which makes him the perfect vessel for Bannon’s pseudo-intellectual vanities.
After quoting from Trump’s own remarks at CPAC the day after Bannon spoke, Blow offers three paragraphs which represent the heart of his analysis:
Maundering is the rhetoric of the middlebrow.
Demagogic language is reductionist language. It draws its power from its lack of proximity to soaring oratory. It can be quaint and even clumsy, all of which can give idiocy, incomprehensibility and untruth a false air of authenticity.
So Trump and Bannon spin their folksy tale of media corruption to give Trump a needed enemy in his perpetual campaign and a needed diversion from the enormity of his disasters. This fits Trump perfectly because not only does he have a gnawing insecurity, he also views the confrontational nature of news as maleficently targeted.
Blow rightly labels what Trump is doing is seeking not truth but propaganda and complaining about the fact that the independent press will not function for such a purpose.
So Trump lashes out with mindless twaddle, insinuating that the media has fully abandoned the pillars and principles of journalism to join the opposition.
Then, as part of the analysis that leads to his conclusion, Blow offers a brief paragraph that helps us understand what it is that Trump is doing:
The fact is that Trump simply wants the truth not to be true, so he assaults its quality. He wants the purveyors of truth not to pursue it, so he questions their motives.
Think about it. Whether it is the size of the crowds he draws at his inauguration or for his CPAC and other campaign events, the weather as his gave his inaugural address, the people committing terrorist acts and where they come from, the relationship of ACA and jobs in the US, or so many other topics anyone paying attention could name, Trump insists what he believes is the true reality, and anything in the media to the contrary is because the media has nefarious motives, is the “lying media” (words which some of his followers rightly connect with Hitler’s use of “Lugenpresse,” and the reporters and editors who allow this what to him is the equivalent of lese majeste need to be destroyed so they do not interfere with the narrative he wants to create.
I want you to read all of what Blow has to say, so go to the column to read the words immediately after the last I have quoted.
But remember — the words I used for my title do encapsulate what is happening, and rightly label Trump and his minions (including Bannon but also Spicer and Conway) in their attacks upon the press:
The press is the light that makes the roaches scatter.
For as Blow tells us in the only words in the column after that:
Remember this every time you hear Trump attack the press: Only people with something to hide need be afraid of those whose mission is to seek.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos