Dear Supporters of Donald Trump:
It’s me—The Media.
Please, stop yelling. Seriously, stop. I have some things to say, and I’d appreciate if you listen.
First, I’m not a collective. I know you think “The Media” is this giant thing, but it’s really, really, really, really not. The New York Times and Washington Post are “The Media.” Sports Illustrated and National Geographic and People and Us are “The Media.” Fox News, CNN, MSNBC—”The Media.” So, for that matter, is Breitbart. Is your Uncle Marty’s blog. Is PBSkids.com. “The Media” isn’t a thing. No, it’s 100,000,000,000 things. It’s people providing information in myriad manners. So, please, stop grouping all information providers under one tent. It’s fucking stupid.
Second, you need me. You don’t realize it yet, because the orange straw monster has convinced you I’m the enemy. But, come day’s end, you’re going to be faced with a very interesting choice: A. Take everything the orange straw monster tells you as gospel, or B. trust reporting. Trust digging. Trust the extra phone call. Trust seeking out documents the orange straw monster doesn’t want you to see.
Right now, the orange straw monster is playing to your worst impulses. That’s what orange straw monsters do; they sell you on an enemy, then attack and attack and attack until your emotions are numb and your curiosity has been worn to a nub. The orange straw monster desperately wants you to see me, the media, as “The Media.” He wants you to never believe me; to only believe him. He wants to be your father and your mother; your nurturer and your provider. He wants you to trust him—and only him. That way, his power lasts and his sway proves eternal.
But here’s the truth: The Media, with rare exception, isn’t what you think it to be. It’s not some monolith, itching for power and money. No, it’s a young girl who grew up in Bethesda, dreaming of one day covering government for the Washington Post. It’s the boy who decided against law school so he could track down lobbyists for the Wall Street Journal. It’s individuals who believe the coverage of Watergate prevented a power-hungry president from getting away with a felony; who believe reporters on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan swayed (rightly) public opinion on Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, we’re not all great. Some of our reporters suck, and that Buzzfeed thing was an embarrassment.
But when Donald Trump mocks “The Media,” and you mock “The Media,” you’re not merely making noise. You’re saying that people like Daniel Pearl and James Foley and Bill Biggart died over nonsense; you’re saying that people like Walter Cronkite and Gwen Ifill wasted their days. In 1837, a journalist named Elijah Parish Lovejoy was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Illinois, during an attack on his warehouse to destroy his press and abolitionist information. According to you, he was worthless; his work was worthless.
Well, here’s the truth. I’m “The Media,” and if you continue to ignore me … to bash me … to believe the orange straw monster when he says I’m no good, you’ll be setting yourself up for a future of no accountability, of no repercussions, of no defense.
You’ll miss me—but you’ll be too uninformed to realize it.