Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir.
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Politico Magazine published an article Thursday that perfectly embodies the failures of tabloid-style political journalism to address the fundamental dangers facing the country: “145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever.”
“In ways both absurd and serious, the 45th president refused to let go of the spotlight or his party and redefined what it means to be a former leader of the free world,” the article sub-headline states, sitting above a colorful image containing a photo of a smiling Trump and images that have defined his post-presidency, including his second impeachment, golf clubs, and a vaccination needle.
The problem here is that Trump’s continued presence in American politics is not merely “both absurd and serious” — it is an ongoing threat to the American republic in the wake of both the former president’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 election and his continuing efforts to put his election-denier acolytes in place for 2024.
“Donald Trump started his time as an utterly unprecedented former president before he was even technically a former president,” the article says, referring to Trump refusing to attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration and instead holding a small rally with his own supporters.
But, according to the article, even the events of January 2021 were part of Trump not following the usual rules, as it declares that a man who “instigated a deadly insurrection” had also “obliterated the long-agreed-upon parameters of the post-presidency just as he did with the presidency itself.”
This framing culminates in a paragraph that Trump himself (or his devoted fans at One America News Network) might have enjoyed, extolling his continued political appeal and possible comeback in 2024 — even elevating his importance on “the body politic and the national discourse” above the sitting President Biden:
Trump, so unabashedly unlike any other former president, simply has refused to let people not have to think about him, and what he’s doing, and what he’s saying, and what it might mean. To reengage with the reams of news coverage of Trump from the course of the last 12 months, to read and reread his statements in chronological order, is to get a visceral, dizzying reminder of the persistence, of the manic relentlessness with which he has done this and is doing it. Biden, the man who beat him, has ushered through Congress trillions of dollars of legislation, and might manage to persuade lawmakers to spend trillions more, no small record of accomplishment in spite of setbacks and stalemates in a historically challenging time. And yet there remains a sense that it is not the current but the former (and the next?) occupant of the Oval Office who is somehow the one who is imposing his will, still, on the body politic and the national discourse.
The article's greatest failure is its tone and the way it treats the 145 facts it has rounded up. For example, the author openly declares many times in the list that Trump has lied about the election, sought to purge any internal Republican opposition headed into 2024, and built up a network of political endorsements based on “his monomaniacal insistence that he won an election that he lost.”
But this is presented in a colorful spread of horse-race coverage, rather than a clarion call that America now faces a threat from a modern fascist movement. In addition, the pseudo-handwritten font used for blockquotes of actual Trump statements seems less than appropriate, making him appear almost friendly and casual.
The problem with celebrity-style political journalism is that Trump is not just some celebrity, a Kardashian who is famous just for being famous. He is the leader of an authoritarian political movement against American democracy, and any article about his continued presence in public life should treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
Shock Jock Howard Stern had some blunt words for the selfish anti-vaxxer crowd that refuses to grasp the grounded science behind vaccines. Stern, by no means a supporter of government intervention into the private lives of citizens, prides himself as a thoughtful citizen who regards vaccination as the most basic thing you can do as a citizen. Stern, who has used his Sirius/XM platform in the past to scold Trumpers, is absolutely done with anti-vaxxers and their never-ending stream of idiotic conspiracies.
In the clip below, Stern shoots down stupid anti-vax theories of "magnetism."
“They don’t trust our government. They think there’s some kind of conspiracy to turn them into a magnet or something like this. They think they’re going to become magnetized if they take the vaccine.”
Stern was apt to point out the most common symptoms associated with taking the vaccines.
“I’ve taken this vaccine three times and the worst side effect is that for a day I had a little bit of a headache.”
Indeed, we now live in a world where the voice of reason comes from the guy famed for playing the bongos on woman's buttocks.
Stern didn't just stop there, however.
The discussion quickly changed to one involving civic duty. Stern further confirmed the divisive, hateful and selfish country we now live in by pointing out the polio vaccine. Moreover, the expectation that people of “my parents’ generation” would take vaccines in order to protect themselves and their communities. He concluded the discussion by mentioning how these anti-vax wackos need to keep their butts out of hospitals, easing the burden of medical professionals forced to treat these ignorant fools.
“If you don’t get it, in my America, all hospitals would be closed to you. You’re gonna go home and die. That’s what you should get.”
Amen to that!