*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
The past few months have seen, if nothing else, a curious and ever-changing relationship between mainstream media and Donald Trump. On the one hand, with two months remaining before the general election, the New York Times makes breaking news that they will, going forward, finally start calling a Trump lie what it is, a lie, and several outlets pledge to be unrelenting in their pursuit of the truth about Trump’s corruption. Well done media! After well over a decade there was a signal that there is a sincere intent to actually do your jobs as journalists and not cheerleaders for the conservative movement. However, the furor over the latest publicity stunt in Indiana proves the media is still pimping Donald Trump’s bona fides as a leader, regardless he is a corrupt private citizen and nothing more.
Over the past week, it was difficult to find many news outlets that didn’t trumpet Trump’s so-called Herculean effort to save jobs in Indiana and frustrate Carrier’s attempted relocation to Mexico. If nothing else, every time Trump’s name was associated with the story it heartily implied that dirty Don barged into the Carrier headquarters, wielded god-like authority (and a wad of cash), and saved the day for several hundred thousand workers in one Indiana factory. It made for a wonderful propaganda piece for Trump, but it was so much bovine excrement and just typical of the mainstream media who dutifully pushed the publicity stunt exactly as Trump knew they would.
Now, one understands the abject stupidity permeating the population, it’s just the pathetic truth and something to be acutely concerned over. However, it is beyond comprehension that anyone in their right mind attributed to Trump something that still-Indiana Governor Mike Pence did; buy favors from a Trump-related company at Indiana taxpayer’s expense with a significant tax gift and a ten-year “incentive” program Pence will leave for taxpayers to fund over the next decade. And yet all week the news was about Trump’s accomplishment.
Where the media is failing is giving Trump any credit for the payoff whatsoever. He is a private citizen, and technically he isn’t the president-elect until the Electoral College votes are counted. For the media to associate the Trump name with Mike Pence’s payoff to Carrier is beyond the pale and here’s why. Trump has no authority whatsoever in the state of Indiana; in fact, the big-time wrestling celebrity has no authority in America; he is still just a stinking private citizen and nothing else.
If that isn’t clear enough, here is a lesson from eighth-grade history class. Each state sets its own tax policies that entail input, debate, and approval of the state legislature and governor. No private citizen, no congressional representative, no other state’s governor, no currently-serving vice-president, no currently-serving president and no incoming state or federal administration can either legislate tax policies or unilaterally pay off a manufacturer to keep some of its operations in the state. One expects that the media is aware of those rudiments of government, and yet they have perpetuated the idea all week that Trump saved jobs by “negotiating” a fabulous deal. It is true that it is very Trump-like to pay off a corporation with other people’s money to benefit his bottom line, in this case, the bottom line is inflating his bloated ego. But Trump didn’t pay off Carrier, Mike Pence did and it is unclear if the Indiana legislature will go along with the outgoing governor’s payoff and unilaterally made tax policy; but they are Republicans and no matter the reason, they will never turn down a chance to give tax dollars to corporations.
This particular publicity incident does, in fact, portend a new approach to tax policies that have already borne rotten fruit in Kansas, and Republicans have made no secret they want to implement the same policies at the federal level. Since Democrats were too cowardly to point out what Republican policies produce, and if any American wants to understand the consequences they can look at Kansas. Instead of reporting that what Mike Pence, not Donald Trump, did is just handing out corporate welfare at the expense of Indiana taxpayers, the media made Trump a hero; even though Pence literally forced Indiana taxpayers to dole out corporate welfare to a Trump-related company over the next ten years. Still, there was very little reporting that Trump has an interest in Carrier and yet plenty that he, private citizen Don Trump, authorized spending hundreds-of-millions of Indiana taxpayer dollars in a payoff to Carrier.
Look, being a journalist, especially a “reporter” journalist is not particularly difficult; maybe a tad more worrisome now, but not difficult. In this case, it seems that far too many media outlets had difficulty attributing the Indiana corporate payoff to the right person and it is a sign that they are either still not interested in reporting the truth, or are still pimping Donald Trump as some kind of heroic figure. Especially when any semi-conscious human being knows that he is still only a corrupt businessman and a private citizen with no more authority over Indiana tax policy than the elderly greeter at the local Indianapolis Walmart store.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.