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How the Media Enables Trump

The mainstream media allows Donald Trump to get away with lies and racist attacks without questioning them by treating back-and-forth statements from politicians as part of the horse race of politics. If the media were doing its job, it would not pass on statements without at least checking on their veracity.

Let’s look at a single example. Yesterday, Trump tweeted this:

Trump Tweet

CNN passed on this tweet without comment, only reporting that “The two have traded barbs throughout the week. … The back-and-forth between Trump and Warren is nothing new.”

But let’s pretend we are responsible journalists and examine this tweet. First of all, he says that Warren is “sometimes referred to as Pocahontas”, which is itself a racist statement. According to an article in “Indian Country Today“:

Trump’s very use of Pocahontas’ name is disrespectful. The story of Pocahontas is heart-wrenching. Toward the end of her life she left her people, went to England, contracted a disease and died at a very young age. When I think of that story – and the hundreds of sad and disturbing stories of how Native people have suffered throughout history, I can’t imagine making a mockery of their names or their lives. In my culture, we have deep respect for our relatives who have gone before us. It would be an utter disgrace to carry on as Donald Trump has about a Native woman whose life was cut short in a terrible way.

Also, note how Trump tries to make it sound like anyone other than himself refers to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas”.

Which brings up the question, why is Trump calling Warren “Pocahontas”? He is trying to revive a discredited controversy that came up during Warren’s 2012 campaign for the Senate. Her opponent tried to claim that Warren had been a fake “diversity hire” at Harvard. But there is no evidence that Warren had ever used anything about her ethnicity in order to get a job anywhere.

Of course, Trump never allowed lack of any evidence to stop him from claiming that Obama wasn’t born in the US. And he isn’t allowing it to stop him from lying that Warren “pretended to be a Native American in order to advance her career”. Especially considering that there is far more evidence that Trump is pretending to be wealthier than he really is in order to advance his career.

And finally, Trump calls Warren “very racist”, which, as Vox points out, is ironic because it “proves that Trump can also be racist while trying to insult someone for being white.” Regardless, claiming to be a Native American may be dishonest, but it is not racist in any sense of the word.

The point of this post is that CNN didn’t bother to discuss any of this in their article. They merely passed Trump’s tweet along with absolutely no discussion of its merits. Is CNN afraid that if they question Trump, that he will attack them?



  1. westomoon wrote:

    Very good point. Not a new development — the media did the same thing with Reagan. They seem peculiarly susceptible to bullies, especially Republican ones.

    Today’s unquestioned Trump whopper is his claim that Hillary wants to increase Islamic immigration to the US — crazy on the face of it.

    I was thinking as I was watching it on the news (un-fact-checked, of course)that Clinton’s most appropriate response would be something like “Donald Trump’s grandmother is a muslim, and he has a big green tail like a dinosaur.” Nonsense to the nonsensical.

    Monday, June 13, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    You mean, like Berkeley Breathed and “I like turtles”?

    Monday, June 13, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  3. redjon wrote:



    That’s the best short-fingers Nazi-boy can do?

    Monday, June 13, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Extra points for the fact that Warren claimed ancestry including Cherokee and Delaware, while Pocahontas was Powhatan. What’s next? Trump making fun of someone from Germany by calling them “Queen Victoria”?

    Monday, June 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    IK – of course, it’s not about mocking her specific tribal heritage so much as the name recognition of Pocahontas with the general public and Trump’s primal urge to label (i.e. brand) his adversaries, each and every one, with a negative moniker (Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, Crooked Hillary, etc.). As I mentioned the other day in a previous post, re. Scott “Dilbert” Adams, this is his MO. It’s how he rolls. And in so doing, he’s managed to alienate and belittle yet another minority group.

    As a personal aside, this takes me back to memories of my high school sweetheart, petite girl with long dark hair, high cheekbones and somewhat olive complexion (Eastern European heritage). Damn she was cute! Her nickname among friends was Pocahontas, but used in a friendly, endearing manner. So it pisses ME off even more to see Trump using it pejoratively and messing with my history too!

    Monday, June 13, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink