Trump vs. CNN: Where have the adults gone?
It would be difficult to dispute the assertion that Donald Trump is the most childish President America has had since the advent of television – and it’s not unlikely that he’s the most childish in the country’s history. His refusal to acknowledge verifiable facts that don’t support his ideal vision of reality, his demonization of any news outlet that doesn’t shower him with praise and his constant name calling are all indicative of an emotionally underdeveloped adult with a dangerously weak ego.
It’s bad enough, for obvious reasons, to have a President engaging in such behavior, but what is even worse is to have the rest of the political system reduced to the same petty, immature squabbling – which is exactly what has begun to happen with CNN, one of America’s most liberal news networks and one of Trump’s biggest “enemies” in the media world.
Although Trump and CNN have been butting heads since Trump began his presidential campaign, CNN was brought to a new low last week that even many liberals found distasteful. It began with an edited video clip that Trump found online and then reposted to his Twitter feed. The original video was taken from one of Trump’s professional wrestling appearances – professional wrestling in the U.S. is a form of entertainment and doesn’t involve real fighting – and shows Trump attacking and hitting one of his wrestling opponents. The edited video has a CNN logo superimposed over the face of Trump’s opponent, making it look as if Trump is punching a symbolic form of CNN. It’s a dumb video, but it’s exactly the kind of thing one would expect Trump to post on his Twitter feed.
CNN, however, reacted in a way that wasn’t quite expected. Rather than brushing the incident aside, CNN tried to milk the situation for all it was worth. Anchors expressed their outrage and claimed that the video encouraged violence against the press. Given the American left’s propensity to take an overly literal interpretation of things when it suits their needs, this wasn’t particularly surprising. What was surprising, however, was what CNN did afterwards.
It seems the news network was so offended by the video that they decided to find out who had created it. They tracked it back to Reddit, a popular website where users can post pretty much whatever they want, and managed to identify the real identity of the clip’s creator. They contacted the creator and essentially blackmailed him – by agreeing not to publish his identity – into not releasing any more anti-CNN material. That’s right: one of America’s largest news networks bullied a lone internet user into not making fun of them anymore and then reported the story as if they’d done something heroic. This is how a 12-year-old acts, and while we’ve come to expect such pettiness from Trump, it’s sad that one of the strongest anti-Trump voices in America has stooped to Trump-like behavior.
But this is an extreme example of what is increasingly becoming CNN’s modus operandi. Just last night, I happened to catch a segment of Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN. Almost 10 minutes were dedicated to a harmless compliment – although CNN did its best to squeeze some controversy out of it – Trump paid to French First Lady Brigitte Macron. His exact words were: “You’re in such good shape.” It seems CNN thinks these five words are worth 10 minutes of analysis. Why? What does the viewer get out of this?
If you believe, as I do, that Trump is a serious problem for American politics, then seeing CNN spend so much time on his most innocuous of actions – the videos he posts on his Twitter feed, the passing, albeit awkward, compliments he makes to a foreign leader’s wife – makes you think that maybe they’re more concerned with winning the schoolyard-level slap fight than the adult-level debate.
The more the media gets taken in by Trump’s tit for tat ego trip, the harder it will be for citizens to see through to the information that matters. It’s a dark time for American politics, and most major media outlets are only making it darker.
Jesse Anderson is a writer and translator originally from Seattle. He is currently based in Mexico City.
Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.
(Source_title：Trump vs. CNN: Where have the adults gone?)