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People who attended the White House Correspondence Dinner or saw Michelle Fox’s appearance on television knows she didn’t attack Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ appearance. PoliticusUSA’s co-publisher, Sarah Jones brilliantly addressed everything wrong with the bullying of Michelle Wolf and the motives behind it.
Anyone who knows Sarah and her writing is aware of the fact that she has defends any woman who faces attacks about her looks. Their politics were secondary to the fact that a woman’s appearance does not determine if and to what extent she has a right to dignity and personhood.
I’d like to address a different point – what the WHCA’s unwarranted apology for Wolf’s performance did to undermine journalism.
Had Wolf, in fact, crossed the line I would be writing about one of the many other things the Trump administration is doing to destroy our courts, our political system, our values and our culture. Indeed, every scandal is designed to divert our attention from the truly dangerous things Trump and Congressional Republicans are doing. And let’s be clear about the fact that unity must not come at the expense of truth.
This is a presidency that would love nothing more than a press that defends everything it says or does – at the expense of the people it marginalizes.
Journalism is about reporting the facts. In representative democracies, it is not about sucking up to government officials or their propagandists.
Journalism is about telling the stories of people who are marginalized by this president and whose marginalization Sarah Sanders defends. It’s about exposing readers to difficult topics, and in its better moments, journalism provokes thought.
It’s also about honoring American heroes like James Shaw Jr. who saved lives during yet another massacre involving a “bad guy” with a gun who happened to be white. Shaw raised money to pay for the victims’ funerals and he apologized to families because he couldn’t save more lives.
He represents everything heroism is, and this president is not.
Maybe that’s why the president and his press secretary were silent about Shaw. Now maybe, they have grown numb to the frequency of gun violence or maybe this story doesn’t fit their narrative.
The purposes of journalism was turned on its head when the WHCA apologized because Michelle Fox dared to be a comedienne and an American, who in both of those capacities has the right to criticize any person in power.
Rather than standing up for the first amendment that was, in fact, celebrated by Wolf’s performance, the WHCA stood up for privilege.
Aside from the privilege that comes with access, it’s the privilege that Donald Trump stands for. A privilege that feels threatened when a woman of color calls them out. It’s a privilege that couldn’t endure the hate filled rhetoric that Trump routinely spews and Sanders routinely defends.
Seriously, all this is from a joke about using the ashes of truth to make the perfect smoky eye.