Right now, every journalist in America is not just walking a tightrope, but is definitely wavering from one side to the other. If the man currently occupying the White House is openly and unquestionably trying to carry out a coup that would crush democracy and turn the nation into a one-party dictatorship, how can this not be treated as the most serious threat in American history ? On the other hand, if the team that allegedly led this fall deliver their manifesto from the Four Seasons Total Landscaping parking lot, then how can it not be just … funny?
A bugy-eyed Rudy Giuliani poking his finger in the sky while hair dye drips on his chin is objectively ridiculous. It is ridiculous when Sidney Powell claims that Donald Trump's overthrow was planned at a meeting with a long-dead Venezuelan dictator. It's ridiculous to tell Jenna Ellis reporters to report everything that Trump's team claims – as if it were a fact. And Giuliani, who stepped back to the microphone and said, "There's no one here who indulges in fantasies," was probably the largest single producer of coffee from the nose – a week that spanned both Four Seasons Total Landscaping and Giuliani's Star-Turn in the new Borat movie.
Right now, it's impossible to distinguish between Republicans who are really trying to destroy democracy and those who are just looking for a cute Fox News appearance. Of course, that goes for most of the other moments as well, but this week both threat and stupidity turned the dials to 11 or 111 at the same time. And how do you report about it?
Celebrate Biden's victory and be called Pollyanna. Point out that Trump is absolutely trying to overthrow that victory and be relegated to the voices of doom. How exactly should reporters deal with things when the most dangerous situation in the country's history is definitely money fraud and also the most absurd situation imaginable?
If a lawyer representing the most powerful man in the world is seriously on television and says that the vote should be lifted in every swing state and a dictatorship instituted, she also says so after a press conference in which she also announced that Trump it is defeated by a Cabal from the Clinton Foundation, George Soros, Hugo Chavez and Antifa … how much weight does it get?
It is easy enough to say "just report the facts", but facts out of context are useless, and the whole job of any journalist, whether at the Washington Post or Daily Kos, is to get those facts in one way present that turns into knowledge. enables decisions and enables action. How do you report the political equivalent of a Tickle Me Elmo doll invasion? Even if they're blood-sucking Elmos … does that help?
The fact is that the American system has several roadblocks designed to prevent anyone from becoming dictator, specifically because "a man in the top job decides he really wants to keep the gig" was one of those problems that really came up than you put goose feather on parchment. There are reasons why people, including me, have put out tons of pieces on the theme of "calm down, it's all going to be peachy". On the other hand, there is a reason why Maschas Gessen's sadly forward-looking autocracy: rules of survival were most on the nose when they said: "Institutions will not save you." Time and again, Trump has shown that far, far too much of the American system existed in the form of tradition, unwritten rules, and expectations that people would have a moral compass that at least pointed to the right hemisphere.
Any story that right now starts with the idea that Trump can't do something because it would break precedents or even break the law should just go back to the first place. Trump is a crook and a liar. He does illegal things while lying about it. Does it really matter that Trump's crack legal team 2-33 stand on trial and only come up with false-state judicial evidence when anyone trying to hold Trump accountable is for infinitely zero?
Trump is a dangerous monster. And an ignorant idiot. It may look like the second nullifies the first, but we had four years to see that it doesn't.
Right now, Trump is openly trying to tear the nation apart. And, as the Washington Post reports, Republicans are doing what they've proven to be their first choice: avoid Trump. How frightening is Trump's attempt to turn the nation into one of the dictatorships he so admires? Exorcist scary. How ridiculous is it? Puffy shirt ridiculous.
Expect the same battle from almost every story created through January 20, 2021.