It should be clear to any rational person that Donald Trump’s bombastic threat at the United Nations to “totally destroy” North Korea is the wild rant of a mentally unstable authoritarian leader, who doesn’t possess basic empathy for humanity.
Yet the mainstream media in its infinite qualifications that have no boundaries and its endless false equivalences that label outrageous lies and obvious truths as binary “arguments” parsed his speech as if the liar-in-chief was just a noble statesmen out to save the world because of the ineffectiveness of leaders in the rest of the world.
The New York Times called Trump’s threat of of mass murder a “combative stye.” The Washington Post covered the speech as if it was a normal speech by a normal United States president. CNN, the news organization Trump often criticizes, said Trump used “blunt terms.”
How do you assign language such as “combative style” and “blunt terms” to a threat to murder 25 million people in one country and hundreds of thousands more in a neighboring country by launching a nuclear attack? How about the words “murder” or “mass killing.” How can you cover a speech advocating violence on a historic scale in a typical journalistic rhetorical format.
Here’s how the story should have lead: On Tuesday in a speech at the United Nations, President Donald Trump threatened the nuclear annihilation of 25 million North Koreans—most of them innocent civilians—which if carried out would lead to a world war.
Many of us get that we’re supposed to see Trump’s language as a hollow threat and just a reflection, again, of his narcissistic personality disorder and warped bravado, but why not just say that then? It’s inconceivable that the United States would kill approximately 25 million people, which is the population of North Korea, but the Trump regime is notable for its unpredictability and Trump’s own erratic behavior. Backed into corner by the growing investigation into his administration’s obvious collusion with a hostile foreign power to rig the election in his favor, Trump could well take out millions of people to deflect attention from his corruption and perhaps to claim his nuclear attack was the “biggest most beautiful” attack ever, much like he might describe his proposed wall on the Mexican border, which would be yet another crime against humanity.
We also get that Trump is the president all of us deserve because he reflects our terrible racist history, our embrace of violence here and abroad and, finally, our political apathy made worse by the dumbing down of our collective consciousness by the inane static offered up in our mass-media culture. We are literally tweeting our Democracy into oblivion.
This is not in anyway to downplay the threat of North Korea and its own mentally unstable leader.If that country does attack an ally or the United States, which is unlikely, then the U.S. must react with force. But killing 25 million people with nuclear weapons would be a heinous criminal act on a scale the world has never seen and the collateral damage to surrounding countries would be immense, which would obviously escalate into some type of world war.
Trump comments about the Iranian nuclear deal agreed to under former President Barack Obama’s administration is similarly far-fetched and also makes no sense. Trump threatened to end that deal and even called it an “embarrassment,” but if you stop negotiations then it just makes the risk of a violent confrontation more likely and it shows the world the U.S. will not honor its agreements. So no that wasn’t Trump using blunt terms. He was using reductionist, immature rhetoric, and he’s the embarrassment.
Perhaps we need a new term besides “not normal” to describe the current age in which we live under the Trump regime. Maybe it’s all “too normal” for a culture that has allowed stupidity and lies to replace rational discourse and the scientific method, a culture in which the for-profit media continues to use false comparisons out of a sense of tradition or for profits or for both reasons as the country descends into an authoritarian state led by a demented, self-appointed demigod.
We can argue terminology all we want, but we can’t argue that our country faces the greatest threat to its democracy and even survival since the Civil War. Until the mainstream news reporting starts to reflect this in its day-to-day output, we remain at the brink of a collapse.