THE TRUMP TURNAROUND AND MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY
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Trump Turnaround—Truth to Power
As Americans, the underdog fighting injustice always secures our loyalty.
It’s embedded in our very DNA. From the Pilgrims to the Patriots, from Harriet Tubman to Abraham Lincoln, from our boys at D-Day to the Holocaust survivors who birthed the state of Israel, from Martin Luther King to the NYPD firefighters and even to Barack Obama, President—America backs the underdog fighting injustice. And when they win, we all win. Their victories become our own.
That said, something shifted last night in the political landscape of America. Something that caused an underdog to win.
Donald Trump is in so many ways very flawed leader. Especially given his propensity for trash talk sexualizing women—“locker room talk” as he described it—he was the clear underdog in his debate last night against Hillary Clinton. And he deserved to be.
But the tables soon turned. Call it the Trump turnaround. It seemed all but impossible, yet it happened.
How? For the first time in recent memory, including the previous debate, truth was spoken directly to power. It was almost as though Trump was delivering a verdict. In this he not only won the debate, I believe he won the respect of a great many Americans.
It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump will sustain the turnaround. And again, I don’t in any way condone the abhorrent conduct suggested by his conversations. I’m wrestling, praying that he truly is the new man he has claimed to be. Jesus alone makes this miracle available. Our genuine response makes it a day by day reality.
That said, neither do I condone the the extraordinary actions of those whose strategically-timed interjections sought to take Trump down. The same news outlets that exposed Watergate are unabashedly pro-Hillary, and seemingly distort their reporting according to their bias. They released the tax records right after Hillary’s focus on them during the first debate. And with an an extraordinary knack for kairos timing, they released the Trump tapes right before last night’s debate.
Yet these same institutions have willfully downplayed and ignored travesties of justice which are, in my opinion, far greater in magnitude than either Watergate or the Trump tapes. Sins against the American people, against our national security, perhaps even against the Constitution itself. Like Secretary Clinton openly defying a congressional subpoena, destroying 33,000 emails after these files were mandated to be turned over. Perpetuating denial and deception even after other emails allegedly demonstrated that she willfully breached even the most basic security protocols for handling classified information.
She was given a free pass. The FBI even helped destroy the evidence. In front of our very eyes, with most of the mainstream media not only looking the other way but championing the alleged abuser.
Message conveyed? The elite can escape accountability and justice. And the media can justify whom they choose and condemn whom they choose.
Keep in mind this is the same media that singled Trump out among the crowd of Republican candidates and promoted him to the top spot. Pocketing millions—probably billions—from his capable showmanship all along the way. Building him up for their own profit, only to manipulate his fall to promote their preferred choice.
Donald Trump should continue to emphasize his repentance for his decade-old conversations and actions. But who is holding the unrepentant media to the fire? Who is calling them to account for hypocrisy?
Rededication to Truth
Many of the news outlets whose virtue I now question provided the role models which inspired me as a journalist. Woodward and Bernstein. The fearless Mike Royko. Photojournalists like James Nachtwey and Sebastio Saldago, who conveyed unsettling truth to the world with their very eyes.
Ideals instilled in college mandated that the “Fourth Estate” remain unbiased in reporting, with a focus on truth. How else could we hold the institutions of society accountable?
And when I first read the Bible as a college student, it was actually the consistent, unwavering commitment to truth that sealed the legitimacy of these Scriptures in my eyes. God is committed to truth, even when its exposure is costly. He holds Himself accountable. He holds His people accountable.
We need the recovery of this dedication today. It’s at the very core of our Judeo-Christian values, it’s at the core of our nation’s founding, and it’s the heartbeat of genuine journalism. In this turnaround year, redemptive truth marks the tracks we must take to “make America great again.”
Manipulating the Manipulating Media
Final thought. To secure his turnaround, Donald Trump effectively manipulated the media that was trying to manipulate him. Issues the media purposely avoided were forced to the forefront. And whatever your opinion of his tactics, Donald Trump is now back in the race.
For those who believe his platform represents the greater hope for America, that’s really good news. But keep this man in prayer. It’s going to take a lot for this turnaround to be sustained. The stakes are very high.
And we should all recommit to the accountability of God’s redemptive truth.