Monday, March 21, 2016

Donald Trump Doesn't Want You to Know What's Happening at His Rallies

Freedom of the press is central to the American experience, even as its business model undergoes turmoil. Trump wants it to go away.

The press penned in at a Trump rally: He calls journalists "disgusting."

Writing or reporting about Donald Trump is somewhat of a "Alice Through the Looking Glass" kind of effort. Asking whether or not his near-pathological liar status will hurt his chances at the presidency depends on who's asking and who's listening. A rational person might answer, "There's no way he can go on like this and win the presidency." A Trump partisan might answer, "Who listens to you, you disgusting pathetic tool."

I was reading a Huffington Post article about how Mitch McConnell will "free up" GOP senatorial candidates to "go rogue" if Trump becomes the GOP candidate. Vaguely interesting article, for sure, but this note at the bottom of the article -- like a disclaimer or full-disclosure statement -- caught my eye:
Editor’s note: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
Do you get that? It's almost as if an editor felt it necessary to point out that this is not reported in the mainstream media, and it's handy to know, in general terms, that Donald Trump operates in a parallel universe, free from regular fact-reporting.

It might have something to do with A) cable news wants the cray-cray story that Trump's candidacy is to keep rolling, bringing in the bucks and the ratings, and B) regular reporting is having a hard time penetrating the national narrative because Trump and his minions simply say, "Oh, these reporters are disgusting, and what you say happened in that video that you say is obvious we say never happened. Ever. Disgusting. Go away."

And everyone sort of goes: What? And the story is somehow he-said, she-said. Who you gonna believe that disgusting reporter or your lyin' eyes?

Anyway, Seth Stevenson of Slate went into the snake pit that is covering the Trump campaign and came back alive to report. Holy shit:
As the planned start time for the event drew near, a pair of men with Trump pins on the lapels of their suits sealed the media pen’s exit. “They’re not allowed to leave anymore,” I overheard one suit instruct the other. “Not until he”—the “he” being Trump—“has left the building.”
The flare-ups continued and intensified. Police swarmed into the stands. Everyone was on their feet, shouting and pointing. When a PA announcement informed us that the event had been canceled, the place detonated.
Reporters scurried to edges of the media pen, still hemmed in, and leaned their cameras over the barricades. Realizing this was folly, they soon mounted a jailbreak. I followed them and found myself amid a churning mob on the arena floor—scuffles everywhere, people shrieking at each other, ripping signs from hands, knocking hats from heads, shoving, stumbling. The cameras raced from one brawl to the next.
When the bedlam flowed outside, I went to a spot where protesters were screaming at people trying to exit the parking garage in their cars. Trump supporters on the garage’s upper levels were jeering at the protesters below, throwing popcorn. “Oh, you’re gonna spit on us now?” said an angry protester, looking up into what did appear to be a hail of expectoration. I saw a newspaper reporter I’d just met inside wading into the fray with her notebook in hand, trying to gather quotes.
The next morning, scanning news about the rally, I learned that [CBS new reporter Sopan] Deb—while attempting to film the ruckus in the streets—had been thrown to the ground by Chicago cops, handcuffed, arrested, and detained overnight in jail.
Read Stevenson's whole account. This isn't your father's presidential campaign, it's Thunderdome: Donald Trump Hits the Trail. If I'm allowed a bit of understatement, he must be stopped.

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