Jean-Jacques Cornish

Trump: the media is partly to blame

Of course Donald Trump had to be impeached.

There had to be consequences for inciting the deadly attack on the Capitol that left five people, including a police officer, dead.

Sweeping up the mob is far more serious that the abuse of power that got Trump impeached last year.

He learned nothing from that.

He is using the same vocabulary to defend his actions both times. “Totally appropriate.”

A strong indication that he was away with the fairies then and he is even more dangerously so now.

At least a dozen, possibly two, Republicans agree with this although not all had the courage to support impeachment. 

They recognize that Trump is unhinged and dangerous and realize that his political base they once held in ane actually poses an existential danger to the constitution and democracy they are sworn to defend.

The FBI has assured us they will track down the thugs who trashed the legislature. 

We hope they can use their self-declared long memory and long reach to good effect and that the the courts will make examples of these people who trashed the home of American democracy because they did not like the ruling of the Supreme Court, loaded with Trump appointees, that the election of Joe Biden as President was not rigged.

And, most significantly, because Trump egged them on.

He is, as the third highest ranking Republican in Congress Liz Cheney, at the very centre of the outrage.

Who else is to blame?

Clearly those Republican congressmen and women who perpetuated Trump’s lie about the rigged election, knowing full well that doing so is worse than disingenuous, it is dangerous.

We would like to see them and officials like Rudi Giuliani who urged the angry mod to conduct “ trial by combat” pursued to the full extent of the law.

Leaving their fates to the tender mercies of the electorate seems risky to me given the electorate’s proven ability to make terrible choices.

After five decades in this business, I am accustomed  to blame being heaped on the media.

That is now an entirely new arena. Where once there were tens of thousands of journalists to hold accountable, social media, which gave the Trump scorpion wings,  has turned millions of people into reporters.

Reporters able freely to give vent to their ill-formed opinions and  to megaphone known calumnies So not journalists.

This does not exonerate the media.

We find ourselves with feet firmly planted in  mid air between two stools.

The removal of the principle of fairness in the United States more than three decades ago allowed the establishment of avowedly partisan news outlets that are not required to provide either balance or fairness.

They are unashamedly propaganda outlets.

Those newspapers that clung to their old values – like the New York Times – ended up providing the whole picture which required reporting Trump’s lies.

For their pains they were insulted and discredited by the narcissist they provided with a constant supply of the oxygen of publicity.

The best way of dealing with a shameless and pathological bullying liar like Trump is either to laugh at him or ignore him.

The conventional media believes it would be doing a disservice to its readers/viewers/listeners by taking such a cavalier approach.

The result is every piece of Trump craziness or dishonesty was accurately covered by the conventional media while being treated as gospel by the fawning Trump media.

He could not have dreamed for more.

Trump is much diminished by his disappearance from so-called big tech.

Being denied access to Twitter, Facebook and You Tube has meant he cannot fulminate to millions without the push back that occurs at press conferences.

Trumpublicans and the Orange Man himself complain of censorship.

It is nothing of the sort.

The social media outlets that block him have made a commercial decision rather than an editorial call.

They have decided that dealing with Trump is bad for business – rather like having a noisy drunk man come into a restaurant and spoil dinner for other patrons.

The best thing is to get rid of him.

Happily more and more legislators are seeing this too.

Ironically it is in the Republicans interest to take punitive action that would prevent Trump from standing for office.

If he were to run again, it would certainly not be as candidate of the GOP.

So it would have to be in a new guise that would split the right of centre vote and guarantee another win for the Democrats.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.