Dear Free Press … You Blew It … Again
I applaud our press … they have kept us informed despite a secretive and contrary administration. They have found resources where there might have been none. They are our last best hope to remain free of the heavy hand of an unhinged dictator. But this week they blew it.
Credibility. It’s all about credibility. Too many, following Trump’s claims of “fake news” question the mainstream, legitimate press already. They must maintain high standards, be their own fact-checkers, and most importantly, focus on what is important. And quite frankly, Melania Trump’s shoes are not what is important. Nobody cares if Melania wants to wear 6” stilettos to traipse through the flood water in Texas. Well … nobody should care. Those who do, wouldn’t understand real news if it punched them in the nose, so they don’t count.
Remember when First Lady Obama had the gall to … gasp … wear a sleeveless dress to some event or another during President Obama’s first few months in office? The press was all over that one too. Now, the New York Times and most other major publications have a ‘fashion’ section, and if they wish to analyze Melania’s shoes in that section, then fine. But it should not, as it was five days ago, be front page news that …
“When is a shoe not just a shoe? When it is a pair of very high, needle-thin heels worn by the first lady of the United States on her way to the site of a natural disaster. Then it becomes a symbol for what many see as the disconnect between the Trump administration and reality; another example of the way in which this president and his family continue to define “appropriate” their own way; and an excuse for partisan name-calling.”
Mind you, I am not disputing the above statement, for it is the truth. I am merely saying that it is not news, it is not sound journalism, it is not the most relevant issue of the day, and it does nothing for the credibility of the source, in this case the New York Times, though The Washington Post and others also jumped on the bandwagon. Predictably, Fox News and others didn’t miss the opportunity to criticize …
“Politico, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Vanity Fair all went as low as they could go — all the way to the floor — to attack Melania Trump. Readers were astonished at how ridiculous the media were willing to be to savage team Trump.
Here’s how they decided to play footsie with Melania: Politico’s “Melania’s stiletto sideshow,” Vanity Fair’s “What Not to Wear to a natural disaster,” and, the Times’s “a symbol for what many see as the disconnect between the Trump administration and reality.”
And of course a few comedians had their say …
“But people weren’t talking about the nuclear missile that Kim Jong Un tested, because Melania Trump apparently did something much worse, She went to Houston wearing high heels.” – Trevor Noah of The Daily Show
Focus, dear press, focus. We need you to do better than this. We need you to be reporting on the important news of the day, not on what Ms. Trump chooses to put on her feet. Frankly, I don’t care if Melania chooses to wear cute little bunny slippers … given her past profession, I am just happy to see her fully clothed!
The mainstream media may have learned their lesson, for yesterday, as the Trumps once again headed for a “do-over” photo op amidst the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the above-named media outlets were silent on Melania’s fashion statement, though other, less reputable publications such as The Blaze, Mirror, and The American Spectator picked up the ball and reported on Melania’s “defiance” of the criticism earlier in the week, as she sported her ‘snakeskin stilettos’. Personally, I have never understood why anybody would wish to try to walk in those things, but that’s just my opinion. I have enough trouble balancing on my flat feet!
The mainstream media has always been under a magnifying glass, criticized when they get it wrong but rarely praised for getting it right. Under the present administration, the scrutiny is even more intense, with daily attacks on the press by not only Trump, but many of his advisors and minions, not to mention the right-wing media outlets and conservative pundits. It is more imperative than ever that the press leave Melania’s fashion choices to the fashion pages and instead keep the ‘news’ section for real news such as North Korea’s missile tests, Trump’s abhorrent staff picks, his attempts to destroy federal regulations, and his undermining of foreign relations, to name a few. Focus on the connections between Russia and Trump last year, focus on the connection between Hurricane Harvey and carbon emissions. Just don’t throw away your credibility, for our very freedom depends on you, our press, to shine the light in the dark corners. Shoes are not news.