“It takes two to tango” and other one-liners

Photo: Zabara Alexander, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Photo: Zabara Alexander, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

President Donald Trump has a famously rocky relationship with the media, one he courted as candidate Trump, pointing to the press enclosure at his rallies, inviting the condemnation of the crowd and ignoring a sage bit of advice:

“Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” — variously attributed to every quipster from H.L. Mencken to Mark Twain to Ben Franklin

Last week Pres. Trump tweeted:

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

There is actually a lot of truth in that. It all depends on which names you put inside the parentheses. Deliberate falsehood in reporting is toxic waste in the drinking water of public discourse. Those who wish to cloud the matter might quote from the Bible:

“What is truth?” — Pontius Pilate

This week the Trump administration barred some of those named “enemies” from White House briefings, ignoring another bit of sage advice:

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” — Michael Corleone, Godfather 2

As a formerly loud-mouthed young opponent of Vietnam War policy, this is not my first experience with a president who lumps me and my ilk in among the “enemies of the American people.” But as a worker in the media for nearly two decades, I see myself more as a superhero in my own Marvel universe, lacking only cape and goggles. I do not, however, insist that everyone agree. That might raise constitutional questions.

“War is hell.” — Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

In her current NPR Ombudsman column, Elizabeth Jensen responds to critics of NPR coverage of the new administration, and to the bad blood between the White House and the media. Paraphrasing NPR news executive Michael Oreskes, she writes:

“NPR is not in a war with the White House; it is there to do its job.”

Me, too.

“It takes two to tango. . .” — 1952 song by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning

. . .and I don’t dance.


4 Comments on ““It takes two to tango” and other one-liners”

  1. twig mcglynn says:

    brilliant – great overview of a developing situation that needs full court press and action from 360 degrees – Thanks

  2. David Duff says:

    Every revolution needs an enemy. Don’t know the author, but being a narcissistic bully and president at the same time while attacking the press seems to me to be a loosing proposition. Our current president thinks he’s the only one in the room that’s right, regardless the issue. Then there is Will Rodgers, I think, ” you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time.” Old Will had it right. Question is, when will most of the people realize the clown has no clothes on? David Duff

  3. Robert Sardell says:

    Thank you NPR and NCPR. I worry that after demonizing the press and the media, Trump and company will try to derail the electoral process, so if and when Trump loses the next election in 3 long years, he might claim it’s rigged and refuse to step down. Then what??!!!

  4. Marie Frey says:

    Thank you tenfold! This reporting is precisely why we are ardent fans of NCPR. Give it hell. We walk with you in word and deed. Mean it. Yes, the emperor has no clothes.

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