An Open Letter to My Media Friends

The top story on MSNBC this morning was how President Trump had the White House flag back up to full staff, even though Senator McCain died over the weekend.

I know this looks awful. But as you already know, whatever side you are on, a solid 40% of the people still support Trump, even after you have exposed his affairs, his hush money, his thuggery, his terrible temper, and his wish to wall the US off from the rest of the world. It’s not because they’re dumb.

It’s because he is doing many other things that you don’t report on? Especially on cable news? And those are the things they like.

For example, environmental regulations. You might want to take a better look at what he’s been doing to those, and how it will affect us and our children. Although there is no evidence that environmental regulations cost jobs, the Trump administration, behind the scenes and without much fanfare, has rolled back clean air, water, waste, and energy regulations. On the website of the Environmental Integrity Project you can see what has been done.

And Congress in general. The press is fond of saying Congress does nothing, but if you check out Govtrac.us you will find that there have been 572 votes this year. Most citizens have no idea how their representatives voted, except on a half dozen contentious bills where the legislators have been willing to argue publicly.

Remember why the late great Senator McCain voted thumbs down on the bill to kill Obamacare? It wasn’t because he disagreed with what was in the bill. It was because he disagreed with the way we are ramming through legislation outside of normal procedures.

There’s an app, Countable, that can enable citizens to contact their legislators on every vote. If you educated citizens on how easy it is to become an advocate for issues that are important to them, perhaps there would be changes in voting patterns.

The President is nothing but a front man. Congressional leaders largely ignore what he does because he is useful to them; he distracts the public so there aren’t riots in the streets as things we have fought for over the years like clean air and quality public education are destroyed unnecessarily. And I’m not even getting into women’s rights and First Amendment rights.

Trump is like the clown in the circus. He entertains the children so no one can see the scene changes between the acts. What’s more, he knows what he’s doing. He knows he has actually accomplished much of his agenda with a willing Congress, a distracted press, and a divided public. When you report on his tweets with all caps, you’re playing into his hands.

We can change this. You can change it. You can do it by teaching Americans something that is no longer taught in schools: civics. If on the cable channels and on the news we talked more about the real issues Americans need to know about — food safety, water and air quality, education, and healthcare, you’d be more relevant. If you gave people the tools to become better voters and advocates you would have a purpose and a calling worthy of your training. And people wouldn’t have to tune out the news when they got bored by the constant spectacle of Trump and his circuses.