HAPPY FOURTH of July!
As we celebrate Independence Day in America this week, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll study reveals that a majority of Americans — 70 percent — say the level of civility in Washington has declined since Donald Trump was elected president.
Perhaps you felt the same exasperating toxicity in the political discourse not only in Washington, but among citizens engaging in debates on various social media platform from both parties.
As far as I recall, this started even during the primary elections, with Donald Trump normalizing the use of personal attacks, insults, and lies to grab the attention of voters amid the noise of the campaigns.
Now that Trump has been elected president — he is not disappointing his ardent fans. The candidate Donald Trump never changed, and has in fact intensified the toxic rhetoric as president, using the bully pulpit of the most powerful position in the world.
Aside from name-calling and demonizing his political opponents, Trump has declared war against the news media — particularly those who are critical of him and his policies, and his loyal fan base believes him when he brands even responsible media networks as “fake news.”
This is Trump’s way of controlling the message, attitude and behavior of his base who seem to have been living in an alternate universe, with so much different view of reality compared to what most Americans experience to be true.
Last weekend, Trump’s obsession was the use of Twitter to single out the hosts of Morning Joe, two of his most outspoken critics on the liberal cable news channel MSNBC. He not only labeled the news program as “fake news”, but also spewed personal attacks against the looks of Mika Brzezinski, as he did with other strong females he has insulted publicly.
Joe Scarborough and Brzezinski responded in an Op-Ed, alleging that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, asked them to apologize to Trump for their reporting so the president will call his friend, the owner of the tabloid National Enquirer, to spike the juicy story about their relationship. The Morning Joe couple did not apologize and continued criticizing Trump, and yes, the National Enquirer published their “story.”
In a statement, MSNBC said, “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.”
Then on Sunday, July 2, Trump posted a short video on Twitter of an old video of him wrestling and punching a man, but this new video had the logo of CNN replacing the man’s head.
Does Trump fantasize about violence against news media people/organization critical of him? This sent a chilling effect on people in the media, with some concerned that such a suggestion from Trump may put the lives of news media people in danger. Is this Trump’s way of silencing dissent?
Surely, political civility has declined in America since Trump became president. Many people are following his example.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos