On What Honor?
It is appropriate that during Shark Week, President Donald Trump has jumped the shark in his ongoing plot arc of tearing down the institutions meant to check his power, including broadcast and cable journalists.
Be prepared to be aghast. Just when you think you have heard it all from this president, you haven't.
Monday night, in a speech that must have had to be heard to be believed—I was going off a White House transcript so as not to be accused of being taken in by the coverage—Donald Trump tried to get, and succeeded if the transcript's bracketed "APPLAUSE" is accurate, a group of impressionable youths in uniforms to hate what he hates—the media, Obamacare, politicians—using a Boy Scout Jamboree as the vehicle for his invective.
Unbelievable. Well, I only wish that it were.
Putting the "oath" in Boy Scout oath, the president said: "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?" and "Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C.—you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that." But he proceeded to do so anyway at some length, either as a tactic or for lack of impulse control.
For some inexplicable reason he thought it appropriate to use the speech to attack Washington, calling it a cesspool and a sewer—his new downgrade from drainable swamp—to attack Obamacare in particular, saying it must be killed and threatening to fire his HHS secretary; and to harp on how big his election victory really was and how the media got the crowd size all wrong.
Seriously? I mean, come on. There may be appropriate times for such attacks, though I am not sure when they are, but at a Boy Scout Jamboree? Not unless you are trying to cultivate the next generation of media and government haters.
Here are some actual excerpts from a speech to a bunch of youths gathered for some summer fun, knot-tying, public service, camaraderie and character-building.
"You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp," he said. "And it’s not a good place. In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer." He was referring to a tweet aimed at the mainstream media. "But it’s not good. Not good. And I see what’s going on, and believe me I’d much rather be with you. That I can tell you.
"I’m waving to people back there so small I can't even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible. By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? The fake media will say: President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.
"Today Dr. Price still lives the Scout Oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our Secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that's really hurting us, folks."
"By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? The fake media will say: President Trump—and you know what this is—President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today."
"Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th, where they said—these dishonest people—where they said there is no path to victory for Donald Trump? They forgot about the forgotten people. By the way, they're not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore. They're going crazy trying to figure it out. But I told them, far too late. It’s far too late. But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn't know what to say?"
Neither do I.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.