Emil Guillermo: Journalism, No "Enemy of the People," Reveals Our Trump Democracy in Deep Trouble
September 5, 2018 10:20 PM
If you haven't seen the news yet, the nation's in more serious trouble than we all thought. And there's nothing fake about it.
People inside the White House have finally come to their senses.
They are speaking forcefully and honestly about the president to the news media, bypassing Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and even Fox.
And it's living up to the best definition of news I've ever heard.
That would be that news is information somebody wants suppressed, and that all the rest is advertising. Or public relations, buffed over truth. Or something in Trump orange.
And judging from Trump's reaction, this week the fourth estate is anything but the enemy of the people, but the one thing in our democracy that can be trusted.
First, the Washington Post delivered with an advance of a critical book on the administration by legendary Watergate journalist Bob Woodward. In it, Trump insiders reveal a chaotic White House led by a man unfit to be president.
We already knew that? Only impressionistically--Sanders and Conway were running interference. The Woodward book has tons of genuine interviews with Trump administration folk done on "deep background," which allow people who know the truth to speak freely in order to let the American people know just how bad things are.
"Deep background" is an important journalistic tool because it gives these heretofore timid souls inside the Trump administration deniability, just the cover they need when asked later by The Donald if they ever talked to Woodward or the media.
Of course, they didn't. And that's how journalism is played in Washington. That was Tuesday, but then not to get outdone, the New York Times trumped the Post Wednesday afternoon with its own piece
for the Thursday morning paper.
One of the highest ranking Asian American editors in journalism, Jim Dao, the op-ed page editor of the Times, got a call from a senior official in the White House from an intermediary, according to CNN's Brian Stelter. The official wanted to do a tell-all op-ed, and Dao told him to submit it.
It was powerful enough for the Times to grant the writer of the op-ed essay anonymity, again the rare use of the shield to enable the writer to speak the truth.
THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE TRUTH
But how else would we get information somebody would rather see suppressed? That somebody would be Trump, whose head must have exploded when he saw someone identified only as "part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration" characterize the "dilemma" Trump faces.
It's one, the writer says, Trump "does not fully grasp." Maybe due to the president's lack of intelligence and fitness to be president.
Trump's dilemma is that "many senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."
In other words, the stuff that really matters that doesn't fit in a tweet.
The writer characterizes the "resistance" as different as that of the left.
But I don't agree.
There is common ground when the writer boldly writes, "We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."
This is how non-partisans speak when the country is in trouble. "That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office."
The writer doesn't mince words. They don't need to hear more Michael Cohen tapes. "The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him him knows he is not moored to any discernable first principles that guide his decision making."
This is as damning as anything written to date. And maybe it's the cue for other Republicans to speak up as well. "Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives; free minds, free markets and free people," said the voice of the Resistance. "At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright."
The writer chides Trump for calling the press "the enemy of the people." Then the writer delivers this blunt assessment: "President Trump's impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic."
This is worse than the Woodward book. It's short enough that Trump might have read it and wondered himself, "Why am I president?
The writer acknowledges the economic pluses Trump and supporters blindly mention, like deregulation and taxes.
"But these successes have come despite--not because of--the president's leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective."
The essay laments Trump's erratic nature, his rants, his "half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back."
The writer admits that not all attempts to curb Trump are successful. But there's an assurance offered. "It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but America should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what's right even when Donald Trump won't."
No wonder Trump has notably tweeted one word in his choicest response: "Treason."
Far from it.
It would be a dereliction of duties and unpatriotic if the insiders didn't come forward and confirm that what we've long suspected is really happening inside the White House.
And maybe the truth will do more than set us free; it may create the turning point that will bring us all together against Trump, the great divider, at the midterm ballot box.
Says the resistance writer in the Times: "The real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in the favor of a single one: Americans."
I think most Asian Americans and other people of color can agree with a majority of Americans that Trump is unfit to be president.
Now someone tell the base, this is real and not fake news.
* * *
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
Leave a comment