Sunday, January 22, 2017

Enemy of the State

The Trump visit to the CIA must be watched in its entirety to be believed.The transcript is revealing, but the video really captures the moment.
Viewers can judge for themselves. Immediately after the live performance, CNN presented a panel with commentary in their usual heavily staffed format. Jim Sciutto had the most extensive commentary on the offensiveness and fact-defying remarks by the president.
The CNN report is scathing - sort of. But any objective viewer who understands the context - the president rushing to the CIA headquarters, to the wall that commemorates those who gave their lives, who must remain anonymous for security reasons - ostensibly to make things right with the intelligence community - ends up talking about himself - his youthfulness, how smart he is. And more. Huh?
This man had me searching the internet for the definition of "narcissistic personality disorder". Not to accuse, but to understand. One actually feels relief that even though this man is incredibly unusual, he is not necessarily unique (other than having been elected president) if we can allow ourselves to think in these terms. We can think of this as a collection of associated traits that we have all witnessed over a period of months that can help understand behavior that would usually be considered antisocial.

The grandiosity and complete self-absorption. Lack of any empathy, the willingness to exploit others. Placing no value on open exchanges, the ability to pile lie upon lie. Care only for the most inner circle of family members, and not necessarily all of them.

One can not watch all 15 minutes of the Trump speech without thinking "This is a very sick man."

The failure of the mainstream press to properly cover the Trump campaign has led to a general awkwardness among reporters. Reporters know in their hearts that if they cover him effectively now, he will use that as an excuse to shut them out of asking questions or even gaining access. Realistically, without a doubt, mainstream press is about to be shunted aside, likely within a matter of days.

Sean Spicer read reporters the riot act Saturday. The crime? Reporting the actual numbers of attendees at the inauguration. And the report on the bust of MLK missing that was quickly corrected. Still a crime. Still taken as a huge personal offense.So everybody outside the inner circle is to be treated as an enemy. Not a surprise for a narcissist. And the focus on minutia - not a surprise.

Local news faced a challenge with their reporting. A half hour show needs to compile a brief segments using excerpts from the DJT CIA speech, Spicer attack on the press, the offense taken by John Brennan. Our local NBC station report chose to cut DJT down to those few comments that sounded perfectly sane stating his strong support for the CIA (which lacked credibility in context). That editorial decision left the Brennan criticism sounding inappropriate and the complete report disjointed.

As a society, we must face the fact of Trump's deep narcissism. The Billy Bush excerpt - "and they let you do it" (because they are so shocked),  taken in this context, becomes perfectly understandable - . The narcissists are often professionally successful and can be charming, but leave others upset by their behavior.

DJT is clearly functioning on the extreme end of the spectrum of this antisocial behavior which has persisted over decades. Someone like this does not change. The challenge is whether the mainstream media can possibly change to be more responsible - not to try harder, but to do a better job under changed circumstances. And will the Republicans who control Congress even care? Or do they see this as their golden opportunity? Only three Republican U.S. Senators who understand the grave threat will be needed to thwart damaging American democracy and therefore, the republic, beyond repair.

If a few Republican Senators join Democrats, then we, the people, may stand a chance in this battle even if all of us who choose to exercise our democratic rights are considered enemies of the state by  the new regime.

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