There’s a reason Charlie Pierce of Esquire refers to Politico as “Tiger Beat on the Potomac,” and this kind of hack work is it. Seriously, this is the sort of amateurish, lazy, half-assed, throw-it-together-to-hit-a-deadline heaping helping of crap-o-la that wouldn’t make it past the student editors of a seventh grade school paper. And the Chimps say that meaning no disrespect to seventh grade writers or editors.
Stop the presses! President Obama promised to save jobs? And Donald Trump did too? Wait, you’re telling us that Barack Obama expressed concern over the costs of a military contract, something Donald Trump recently did as well? Well, yes, you’ve proved conclusively that Donald Trump and Barack Obama are just like each other. Political clones. Twin sons of different mothers, practically.
Except for a few critical differences, we mean. Like the fact that Barack Obama inherited the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, while today’s economy is clipping along nicely and unemployment is sub-5%. Or the fact that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for – well, for not being George W. Bush – while Donald Trump spends most of his waking time tweeting threats or criticism to the cast of a Broadway musical, the head of a labor union, and a TV show. Or the fact that Barack Obama appointed to his Cabinet people who were competent and well-qualified, while Donald Trump has appointed, for example, a racist to lead the DoJ, and a religious fundamentalist who’s dedicated pretty much her entire adult life to destroying public education as Secretary of Education.
The Chimps get that lots of people will recognize this as the Brady-Bunch-goes-to-journalism-camp stuff it is, and will ignore it. But therein lies the problem. Lots of people won’t. Lots of people will read nonsense like this and think to themselves “Well, if Trump’s doing the same kinds of things Barack Obama did, he won’t be that bad.” In other words, lazy, sloppy journalism like this is how the Trump administration’s racism, xenophobia, misogyny, sexism, religious bigotry, white supremacy, incompetence, lack of preparedness, and general unfitness-for-office will be normalized.
Yes, normalized. Made to look normal. Appearing to conform to political and social norms. Not seeming to be abnormal. Tiger Beat on the Potomac is contributing to something nearly as dangerous as Trump’s election: making Trump appear normal. He isn’t. He shows no indication that he can be, or that he wants to be. You cannot, as a candidate or as President-elect, do the things that Donald Trump has done, and be considered normal. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible. It’s dangerous. And it encourages other hack journalists to follow your lead, compounding your professional buffoonery.
This – normalizing strategies and behaviors that are outside political norms – is one of the things the GOP has done to control the political narrative. The Chimps want it to stop. From now until the day he leaves office, Donald Trump needs to be portrayed as the con artist, carnival barking, circus freak that he is. If you see others, whether through laziness, incompetence, indifference, or worse, try to do what Politico has done here, call it out. Publicly shame them. Embarrass them. You can bet the Chimps will.
This steaming pile o’ journalistic gack earns Tiger Beat on the Potomac a solid two Laughing Chimps Salutes.