One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Why don’t you write about something other than Trump?” Interestingly enough, that question is most often posed by people who support Trump. Why would that be? Are Trump supporters in South Philly tired of reading about him? If so, why is it that so many Trump fans watch Fox News, the closest thing to a state-run network in my lifetime — a lifetime, I might add, that pre-dates the popularity of television.
My initial conclusion was that Trump fans aren’t disappointed because I write too OFTEN about their guy. It’s that I don’t write FAVORABLY about him. If I did, wouldn’t these Trumpions require me to trumpet his praises even more? But then, as I so often do, I looked inward. Isn’t my conclusion just a little bit self-serving? Doesn’t it smack of smugness? Isn’t that just what my detractors detest about media elites? Should I not listen to what my conscience tells me?
Like my questioners, I’m tired of Trump-dominated news. My wife and I agree that, through television, we wake up and go to bed with Trump. The only person in America who DOESN’T wake up and go to bed with Trump is Melania. It’s called the virtue of separate bedrooms. She has found an answer — an answer we the hoi polloi lack. But back to the question I seem determined to avoid — Am I guilty of contributing to the Trump noise that surrounds us 24 hours a day?
I decided to go through all of my 2019 columns to determine whether I’m fixating on Trump too much. So far this year, I’ve written 24 columns. Of those 24, Trump is either the subject of — or at least mentioned in — nine. According to my handy RADIO SHACK calculator, Trump lurks somewhere in around 37% of my 2019 columns. I’ve included instances where his name is mentioned as little as once. In those instances, I’d been almost finished my column when I yielded to my Trump-addiction (much like when I try to get through a 24-hour period without eating ice cream only to snatch a TRADER JOE’S mini-sized chocolate mint ice cream sandwich out of the freezer as my last waking act of the day).
From my lofty perch as a columnist, I realize that I should be above temptation. And I do try. Really, I do. Consider that I’ve written 15 columns this year where I’ve ignored Trump’s wreaking havoc on our democracy to write about such mundane subjects as my shower head, homeopathic medicine, Councilperson Kenyatta Johnson’s noble crusade against bay windows in his district and my wife’s old economics textbook. And how about the 3,227 columns about my hospitalizations? Alas, I realize that if you really want to get rid of a harmful addiction, you can’t give in to it…as I have…more than a third of the time. An alcoholic doesn’t boast that he or she drinks just 37% of the time. But alcoholics get help. At least they have support groups such as AA. Where oh where do we poor Trump addicts in the media go if we want to shake a Trump addiction?
Trumpanistas, please bear with me. I realize that if you had your druthers (what are druthers anyway, and why does it seem as if we’re constantly suffering from a druthers shortage?), you’d send all of us media types to a remote island — an island devoid of writing or broadcasting implements. Incidentally, being a media type myself, I can assure you that the thing most members of my clan cannot do without is not their laptops, but free press room snacks. Take away our free bags of corn chips, and we’ll write anything you wish. But as an anti-Trump media offender (and winner of the mythical Rachel Maddow Award of the Week multiple times, beating out Will Bunch on several occasions), I realize it is my responsibility to come up with a solution. Thus, I offer you with profound Trumpidation — my 12-step program to cure Trump addiction…
1-Admit that as media members, we are powerless in regard to our Trump addiction. Cover more water main breaks.
2-Use faith as the path toward recovery. Ask what would Edward R. Murrow do?
3-Consider becoming a weatherperson (only if we’re attractive enough).
4-Realize that our Trump addiction will end in two to six years as he leaves office. Realize that we won’t be alive when Barron is old enough to run.
5-Know that Jim Acosta is not totally free from blame.
6-Stop hiding the “BERNIE” sticker behind our press credentials.
7-Make a list of all the times that we’ve written or broadcast bad things about Corey Lewandowski.
8-Admit that Rachel Maddow has never interviewed a guest with whom she disagreed.
9-Make amends to Sarah Huckabee Sanders by writing about a scenario upon which she COULD be elected the governor of Arkansas.
10-Regret wishing that Paul Manafort WOULD be sent to Rikers.
11-Think of at least one way that Melania does NOT resemble a Stepford Wife.
12-Try to come up with one good thing to say about Trump. Suggestion — “President Trump showed marvelous accuracy when he tossed rolls of paper towels to needy Puerto Ricans today.”
Meetings should be held weekly. Daily for the Washington press corps. And don’t forget the free corn chips. ••
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