George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

“Donald Trump is a Poop-Head”

From Just sayin’ by George Duncan

“Donald Trump is a Poop-Head”

Thus opined my 6-year-old granddaughter, Julia, during a recent visit. Her reading is coming along quite well and she is especially adept at reading and understanding tweets. Like when Trump tweeted about the intelligence community’s findings around the hacking of America’s emails and placed very deliberate or scare quotation marks around the words “intelligence” and so-called “Russian hacking’” to indicate his utter contempt for any agency that would dare to speak truth to power – his power – especially if it casts doubt on his new faves, Russia and V. Putin. Trump’s belittling of America’s intelligence agencies should be a clarion call for Republicans in Congress demonstrating, beyond the issue itself, the irresponsible arrogance this guy is bringing to the Presidency of the United States.

Trump has taken narcissism to bewildering new levels of pathological self-involvement which simply excludes from consciousness any non-self-directed event and even more violently rejects any critical or negative event no matter how petty or insignificant. The narcissistic pathology includes delusional perception of events, bald-faced lying, hyperbolic and convoluted descriptions of events, verbal bullying and other forms of aggressive behavior. Add to that his total inexperience and utter ignorance of governing and you have a toxic mix that can do great damage to our democratic system both domestically and internationally. Poop-head indeed!

So what to do about it? Sad to say, much of Trump’s success is with the cooperation – intentional or not – of the mainstream media. Even as he calls the media out as the most dishonest people in the world, he owes his very existence to their promotional coverage of his every tweet and burp (got that, CNN?).

The first act of authoritarian regimes is to control the media, and Trump’s efforts to move the White House Press Corp out of the White House is clearly a step in that direction, as is his constant barrage of tweets. So wake up and do your job as you were taught in journalism school. Beware of stories and reports that normalize right wing behavior. Don’t report a Trump tweet verbatim in the hed and first graph and wait two or three graphs down to tell me it’s false. In interviews, ask the follow up question: “…and what evidence do you base that opinion on? Who said that, when and where?” As we used to say in the 60s, question authority. Forget partisanship. We don’t need an R. in order to talk to every D. Trumpism is a matter of wrong vs. right and you’re supposed to be responsible enough to know the difference. Say so! Seek truth, even at the cost of readership. Avoid the shiny Trumpian objects. Strike the words “outrageous” and “unprecedented” from your style book. It’s time for you to step up and protect American democracy against this national home invader, even if there are those who do not understand what’s at stake or who don’t care.

These folks don’t read the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal, or, most likely, your publication. So send key news stories to local and weekly newspapers with permission to publish, maybe the day following publication. Send them too, to your Congressional representatives. The actual stories – not a link to an online edition. Provide the questions you would ask if the principals were in your office. Review tapes of interviews with Trump surrogates and see how effectively they change the subject whenever a question of policy or Trump behavior comes up. When they change the subject, change it back! Stop letting Kelley Anne Conway walk all over you, dammit! (Got that, Greta?)

“A little hyperbole never hurts,” Trump wrote in “The Art of the Deal.” “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular … It’s an innocent form of exaggeration – and a very effective form of promotion.” His lies and exaggerations come so fast and furious that the media hasn’t kept up with them. Before you respond to one, here comes another one to hijack the last headline. Trump’s plan — assuming he actually has a plan — has been described as “outrage fatigue.” By the fifteenth tweet, the yelling and sputtering responses become reduced to oh, the hell with it. Will this be an ongoing form of communication? Don’t let it happen.

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Just sayin’…

George Duncan

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