When the Headline is the Story
Today, the three top headlines greeting me on MSN, Microsoft’s default start page, concern Donald Trump’s current trip to Britain:
From the Los Angeles Times: “Trump is all gripes and insults in UK, until he meets the queen.”
From The Guardian: “Trump insults London mayor on London visit.“
From Instyle: “Melania wore controversial brand to palace visit.”
Knowing, of course, that the vast majority of internet users only read the headlines, the editors at MSN are framing the entire story of Trump’s visit with those headlines. Knowing, further, that most internet users are oblivious to all world news beyond the headlines, they have just defined the event in all its elements for the entire American public, which of course is the primary concern.
As for the LA Times’ spirit of truth-seeking: During his meeting with Queen Elizabeth, Trump was presented with an abridged one-volume edition of Churchill’s Second World War. To which the Times appends the editorial comment that “It’s commonly known that Trump seldom, if ever, reads books.” As though mocking Trump’s reading habits were the purpose of the gift — as opposed to, say, the relative inconvenience of handing a man, during an official state greeting, a gift of six large volumes.
The focus of the LA Times’ story, as with the Guardian’s, is Trump’s having, in his typical vanity and vulgarity, tweeted that London mayor Sadiq Khan was a “stone cold loser.” But wait — isn’t Khan, in fact, a stone cold loser? And doesn’t Trump have some reason to be a little critical of a mayor who has repeatedly called for Trump to be banned from visiting the UK, who openly accuses Trump, and by implication millions of Americans, of being evil? The mayor who approved the floating of a “baby Trump” balloon during a protest? A mayor who repeatedly makes apologies and excuses for Islamic terrorists operating within his city, and who has most recently made international totalitarian news for promoting a ban on knives, so incompetent is he at curbing the deadly violence in his (gun-free) city, which now has a higher homicide rate than New York City?
I’m the last person to defend a Donald Trump tweet binge, but seriously, how else is one to describe Mayor Khan? In this one case, at least, doesn’t Trump in fact have the upper hand in maturity and integrity? Khan — whom, as far as I know, Trump has never tried to ban from entering his country — is actually a stone cold loser.
I won’t even waste time on Door Number Three, Melania Trump’s supposed “controversial” style choice, because, frankly, I have a life.
Plenty of stone cold losers all around these days. That Trump deserves no respect in no way absolves the tyranny-abetting shenanigans of the mainstream media, which deserves less, in part because it is the media, formerly “the press,” which fostered the conditions and standards of modern political discourse that made Trump’s presidency — not to mention Khan’s progressive authoritarian mayoralty — possible in the heart of the formerly civilized world.