Friday, February 17, 2017

Turx, Trump, the Media, and Policy

Chasidic reporter, Jake Turx (TOI)
Turx is how this Chasidic reporter identifies. No first name. Just his last. Reminds me of the fictional gunslinger Paladin in the 50s TV series ‘Have Gun. Will Travel’.  This Chasidic reporter works for one of the Charedi magazines and is perhaps one of its finest and most entertaining reporters.  He recently received the high honor of being granted White House press credentials. That gives him a seat at Presidential press conferences. Which he attended yesterday.

In what has to be one of the most surreal Presidential press conferences I have ever seen, Turx had his head handed to him by the President. It is no secret that the ultra Orthodox community voted overwhelmingly for Trump.  And the Charedi magazines are clearly ultra Orthodox. While I have no clue how Turx voted in the last election – it is not unreasonable to assume he voted for Trump. (Although... who knows.) At the very least, the vast majority of those who read Charedi magazines are unabashedly pro Trump and probably voted for him.

When Turx was called upon by the President, he prefaced his question by telling him that no one in his community thinks that he is an antisemite. He added that he realizes that Trump’s daughter is Jewish as are his grandchildren - using the Yiddish word Zaidie in describing Trump’s relationship with them. I guess Turx thought that this preface would clearly indicate that he was not attacking the President in any way – by even hinting that Trump was responsible for what he was about to ask. So he asked if the White House was going to address the increased phenomenon of antisemitism in this country which was manifested recently by over 40 bombing threats made against Jewish Centers.

Trump totally ignored the content or the intent of the question as well as the elaborate preface. Not to mention ignoring the overwhelming support he must know was given to him by the Charedi world from which Turx obviously comes. Trump only heard one thing. Antisemtism. Once that word came up, he stopped listening. From that point forward he saw Turx as yet another lying reporter attacking him with false accusations of antisemitism.

To be fair, I can understand why someone who is constantly accused of antisemitism; or accused of tolerating (or even fomenting) it might be overly sensitive to being accused of being something he is clearly not. But that is no excuse for not listening to a serious question from a reporter he should have known would be friendly toward him.

Trump cut Turx off in the middle of his question. And then went into a tirade against him - accusing him of being just another member of the ‘fake news’ media out to get him. His ‘answer’ had nothing to do with the question. It was all about how false Turx’s ‘accusation of antisemitism’ was.

Poor Turx. What a way to start off his job as a White House reporter. (On the other hand this is generating unprecedented publicity for both him and the magazine he works for. There is a silver lining I everything, I guess)

To their credit, the mainstream media has been defending Turx – realizing how unfairly he had been treated. But to them this is nothing new. President Trump is paranoid... seeing an enemy behind every rock. (Kind of the way Nixon did.)

Of course that was not the only surreal thing coming out of the press conference yesterday. Which was yet another example how embarrassing this President is. The conference was filled with lies and false accusations; peppered heavily with self congratulations. Again, to be fair, the media has been relentless in focusing on how terrible he is. I can’t really blame him for feeling so paranoid. What he absolute fails to understand is that he gives them plenty to work with.  When Trump plays fast and looses with the facts, does he expect them to ignore it? When his Presidency has so quickly gone into disarray, does he expect no one to notice? Of course he is so full of himself that he thinks his Presidency is working  ‘like a fine tuned machine’ (his words). Not only is he paranoid, he seems downright schizophrenic and not at in touch with reality.

Which is all such a shame. Because if one ignores his stupid rhetoric and focuses on his policies, he is not really that far off from mainstream America. Or at least half of it. Trump is right about media criticism of that. All he is trying to do is turn the promises he made as candidate into policy. The problem is that when a President’s comments are so terrible and so constant, when his errors are so frequent and public, when is demeanor is so embarrassing to this country, when his implementation of the policy is so ineffectual... what gets lost is the actual policy he is trying to implement. It all gets rolled into one big negative. Which is (wait for it…) HUGE! And all the inflammatory rhetoric candidate Trump made about those policies does not help him either. It does the opposite and is constantly used against him by a liberal media that is clearly biased against him and - more importantly - against his polices. A bias he fuels with his constant  attacks against them.

Just to cite one example. His promise to deport illegal aliens is merely a decision to enforce the law. The key word there is ‘illegal. And he doesn’t even want to deport them all. All he wants to do is deport those illegal aliens that broke the law. But if you look at the reaction to that by the liberal media and liberal special interest groups, you would think he wants to execute every single human being living in America whose ancestors did not arrive on the Mayflower.

This is an unfair attack against him. You can’t really blame Trump for the biased way this is being covered by the mainstream media. Reporting that is dripping with bias. I have seen precious little perspective on this that was not heavily biased.  Of course I can’t blame the media for being biased either because of Trump’s attacks against them. 

I feel sorry for Trumps children. They must realize all of the dynamics here. They must know that their father is at least partly responsible for it. But they still can’t be happy that their father is being treated so viciously by the media.

I actually think that Trump is a nice guy. Before he became political, that is how he seemed. That is how people that know him talked about him. He had been known for many kindnesses he did for people in need without any fanfare. But once he became political, the media judged him only on his terrible political rhetoric ignoring him as a human being. And that changed how he viewed them.

I believe that even though he is somewhat of a narcissist, that his intent is what he says it is, to make America great again. He actually does want to help the American worker that has been stiffed by the effects of modern technology and increasingly tough government regulations. I think he really wants to destroy Islamic terrorism. I believe he does want to strengthen our military. I believe he does want to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis. I believe he does want to see an alliance between Israel and her Arab neighbors. 

I believe he does want to reduce the tax burden on the middle class. I believe he does want to improve the infrastructure in this country. I believe he does want replace the Affordable Healthcare Act with a better one. I believe he does want to renegotiate the nuclear deal with Iran. I believe he does want to replace bad foreign trade policies with better ones. It is all of those promises – and more that got him elected. And the people that voted for him still support him despite how ugly his Presidency looks.

I just wish the President would shut up; stop tweeting; and stop reacting to media coverage of his Presidency. Let others do the talking for him. (Not too thrilled with his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer either. I’d rather see someone like Vice President Pence be the public face of the Trump administration). The media will then by default have to focus on his polices. Which can legitimately be debated by good people on both sides of the political aisle.

But alas, this is just a dream. Trump doesn’t have it in him to be quiet when criticized. He lashes out fiercely! And the media will continue covering it.