Saturday, June 20, 2020

Show, No Show

The two cable news networks not Trump TV face a test Saturday evening. On the print end, CNN notes that President Trump

returns to the campaign trail Saturday in Tulsa with his first rally since the coronavirus pandemic began, looking to reignite support for his struggling reelection bid while sweeping aside concerns from his own health experts and continuing to stoke tensions by threatening protesters outside his Oklahoma spectacle.

Trump is eager to resume the boisterous rallies that he believes were key to his 2016 victory at a time when his reelection prospects have dimmed, in large part because many Americans disapprove of his handling of both the coronavirus and his response to calls for racial justice that are gripping this country.

His own plans for the rally -- originally scheduled for Friday, which was Juneteenth -- the day marking the end of slavery in the United States -- may have only deepened the sense that the President, who has a history of making racist remarks and is opposed to renaming military bases named for Confederate leaders, is out of touch with a county trying to reckon with its racially violent past. That past is especially painful in Tulsa, home to a 1921 massacre of hundreds of Black Americans who were attacked by a White mob in Greenwood, a neighborhood then known as "Black Wall Street" that was looted and burned....

by gathering his backers at Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Center arena -- an indoor venue that holds 19,000 people -- the President is zealously flouting nearly every one of the principles outlined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for gatherings of people, as CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta noted Friday.

Trump has long demonstrated his disdain for science, reason and the advice of experts, especially if it conflicts with his political goals. Even as he commands the highest office in the land, he has skillfully honed his image as an outsider operating from the inside in the eyes of his loyal base.

Stoking tensions? Out-of-touch? Zealously flouting nearly every one of the principles outlined by the CDC? As if to confirm fears:

If that's the case- and it definitivelyy is- the two cable networks not Trump TV have the opportunity to perform a public function when the Chosen One addresses his true believers in Oklahoma. Publicizing tweets from the President is relatively benign. They are not visual, and thus of limited effect; and most voters, including many Trump supporters find them not helpful.

But rallies are the President's bread-and-butter. They are where he shines, albeit in a belligerent, hateful, even cartoonish manner. His vile nature shines through and energizes his base. The media has enthusiastically published the anti-police brutality/defund the police protests also. However, it did not do so from beginning to end; face masks were worn at the largest of the demonstrations; and they were outdoors, significantly reducing exposure of participants to the coronavirus.

They were not held in any part to increase spread of the disease. By contrast, the Tulsa rally is to be held indoors, with air conditioning, which greatly increases the danger. That suits the President's interest in people dying, but there is no need for the responsible media to play along.

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