A fun timeline!
Last week, CNN pulled a Russia-related story and fired some journalists after they realized the story hadn’t been properly vetted. Donald Trump gloated and carried on, trying to tarnish all of CNN’s reporting with this news, ignoring the fact that by treating the fallout from this story the way that they did, CNN in fact burnished their reputation for responsible journalism, but whatever.
Then after a bit of diversion launching a vulgar attack on Morning Joe‘s Mika Brzezinski (BY THE WAY, I AM VERY ANGRY THAT PART OF MY BRAIN IS NOW USED UP REMEMBERING HOW TO SPELL “BRZEZINSKI” WITHOUT RELYING ON SPELLCHECK, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?), Trump returned to enemy number 1, CNN:
This culminated on Sunday morning with a tweet featuring a dumb gif of Trump at a professional wrestling match, body-slamming and punching a man with the CNN logo over his head, along with the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN.
This tweet was followed by one that features Trump giving a speech declaring that “the fake media is trying to silence us, and we will not let them.”
Where to fucking begin?
As with the Brzezinski tweet last week, I am almost hesitant to give these tweets any more oxygen, as that is what Trump thrives on. As others have pointed out, these tweets serve as a distraction from more important issues: healthcare, Russia, voter intimidation, immigration, the fact that this shithead still hasn’t released his God damned taxes and yet is accusing states that don’t want to just hand over their voters’ information to the federal government to be used for whatthefuckever as being the ones HIDING SOMETHING, or any number of other horror shows that we can’t possibly imagine that they are working on in Washington.
The tweets do this job beautifully: the media, who is being attacked, understandably give attention to the tweets instead of other perhaps more pressing matters. Trump’s base is riled up by the tweets, embracing more reassurances from their dear leader that everything they hear in the news that contradicts their worldview is indeed fraudulent and fake and they are formally off the hook for having to do any painful reevaluations of their own beliefs. And Trump’s GOP enablers are caught in an untenable position, between not wanting to offend the base by insulting Trump too harshly but also knowing that his infantile tweeting is both a distraction from their policy messaging and certain to alienate independents and the moderates of their party. As a result, they are forced to give mealy-mouthed condemnations which only serve to provide more fuel to the distraction fire.
Rachel Maddow provided a very intelligent insight into this phenomena on her show recently while addressing the attacks on her colleagues over at Morning Joe. You should watch the piece, but if you don’t have 22 minutes to spare, the gist of it is this: all politicians have means of distracting us or changing the conversation. But Trump is so offensive in his methods, he is so vile and horrifying that even if you don’t want to give him what he wants — more attention — you feel compelled to say something if you are a good person because his behavior is so unconscionable and you don’t want to be tainted by it by not making clear your objections. However, by responding to his behavior, we keep the distraction alive and he controls our national narrative.
The thing is, I think believing that Trump is tweeting these things as a deliberate distraction is giving this idiot entirely too much credit. He tweets these horrific and dangerous attacks on the media because he can’t help himself; his ego is too fragile, his temper too volatile and he lashes out at the slightest provocation. I don’t believe Trump is clever enough to be tweeting these lewd and violent messages as a means of political distraction. I think Trump is tweeting these lewd and violent messages as a means of bringing the attention back to himself, because that’s all he really wants: attention. He desperately wants the media’s attention and adoration (as those fake Time Magazine covers attest) and if he can’t have their adoration, that’s ok, he’ll take their loathing because attention is attention is attention.
But even if these tweets do serve to distract us other issues and even if by addressing them we give Trump exactly what he wants, we can not afford to ignore them because the content reveals something profoundly dangerous about the leader of the free world: he is a wannabe tyrant who is openly advocating for authoritarianism. This is what authoritarians do, they attack any institution that threatens their power and they create scapegoats for their followers to focus their hate upon.
In fact, the Reddit troll who created the wrestling gif also posted this on Reddit less than a month ago:
This is terrifying and we must not pretend that the wrestling tweet is a harmless joke or that these tweets are intended to be a distraction from some other more “real” threat. We have to call these tweets what they are: a blatant call for violence against journalists, as CNN put plainly in their response yesterday:
It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.
And here’s the kicker: this morning, this asshole had the temerity to tweet the following:
Dear Donald Trump:
- How about in the White House press briefings your press secretaries discuss these particular issues and you allow the media to record them every single time?
- And how about allowing your press secretaries to keep the focus on these very things by not tweeting insane distractions about facelifts and pro-wrestling?
- Better yet, how about you hold a press conference and take questions from the media on these topics, while not yelling at them that they are FAKE NEWS?
- But before all of that, I need to know what do you mean by the media “will be forced” to discuss these things? Do you know how that sounds? Because that sounds a little … you know … authoritarian.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYBODY! IT’S GOING TO BE FINE! MAYBE!
In other TV news
Game of Thrones news is coming:
This season’s finale will be 82-minutes long which is crazy long. But even bigger news is that every episode of the final season might be as long as a movie, clocking in at 80+ minutes.
TV Guide imagines how a Daenerys/Euron showdown will happen, but we all know how it will end: in the Rocks-Paper-Scissors game of Dragons vs. Boats, dragons win.
As a parent, I struggled with at what age to allow my sons to watch Game of Thrones (we settled around 13) and I often wondered about the child actors on that show and the things that they were exposed to in doing their jobs. Anyway, here’s Sophie Turner claiming she learned about oral sex from Game of Thrones.
Ways in which Game of Thrones has inspired other series: you can thank Game of Thrones when Star Trek Discovery starts killing off characters you care about, and John Singleton wants Snowfall to be the “ghetto version Game of Thrones“ whatever that means.
Olivia De Havilland is suing Ryan Murphy over her portrayal in Feud: Bette and Joan, which is kinda insane as she was one of the few characters who came off well. But a 101-year-old woman does what she wants.
Here are two pictures from the Doctor Who Christmas special, featuring Walder Frey as the first Doctor.
Bob the Drag Queen states the obvious. Related: straight people have been co-opting gay culture forever and always, it’s what we do.
The Keepers has inspired a petition pushing the church to release files on priest A. Joseph Maskell. This is unlikely to happen, but it’s always interesting to see a series inspire real-world action.
Neither Corinne nor DeMario are expected to return to Bachelor in Paradise, but that doesn’t mean footage of them filmed before the whole kerfuffle won’t be used.
- Dear White People has been renewed for a second season by Netflix.
- Critically-acclaimed The Carmichael Show has been cancelled by NBC after three seasons,
- Daniel Dae-Kim and Grace Park won’t be back on Hawaii Five-0.
- Mahershala Ali, the Oscar-winning actor from Moonlight, might be the lead in True Detective season 3, and might just be enough to trick me into watching another season of that nonsense, God help me.
- Laura Mennell and Eijiro Ozaki are joining The Man in the High Castle.
- Jennifer Ferrin and Miriam Morales will be in the second season of Sneaky Pete.
Barry Norman, BBC Host
Conan marathon: A list of good things in life: Crushing your enemies. Seeing them driven before you. Hearing the lamentations of their women. 7 p.m., Sundance
Game of Thrones marathon: Seasons 5 & 6 Midnight-7 p.m., HBO2
Star Trek Voyager marathon: You know, if old Star Trek is your thing. 5 a.m. – 11 p.m., BBCA
|Battle of the Network Stars
|CBS||Kevin Can Wait
|Man With a Plan
|Life in Pieces
|Whose Line is it Anyway?
|Whose Line is it Anyway?
|FOX||So You Think You Can Dance
|NBC||American Ninja Warrior