Donald Trump likes to click. Those clicks make retweeting so, so easy.
Donald likes to retweet posts that praise him and his policies. He also likes to retweet attacks on those people he sees as his enemies. It saves him the time and effort of having to write his own tweets. Words are so difficult to spell and people always make fun of his mistakes, so retweeting helps avoid having to go through all that.
The problem is that Donald doesn’t much bother to check the sources of the posts he retweets. This has led to him reposting items dredged up from the ugly bowels of the internet, from the tweets of far-right, neo-fascist UK political commentator Katie Hopkins to the rantings of random Q-Anon followers whose daft but deadly conspiracy theories he promotes despite their tenuous connections with reality.
Take Trump’s latest retweet this morning.
ABC is as bad as the rest of them. Journalistic standards are nonexistent today. The press is so dishonest that we no longer have Freedom of the Press! https://t.co/nzF31cLYw7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2019
At first look, the tweet seems to be easily categorized as a variation of the “Fake News” theme that is a perennial favorite in the president’s repertoire.
While one may agree that journalistic standards are not what they used to be, most discerning readers likely believe that is the result of the media disseminating the obviously false pronouncements of the most dishonest president in history without sufficient condemnation.
For the king of liars to call the press dishonest is ironic and laughable, but to claim that our nation no longer has freedom of the press when Fox News is unconstrained in its continual perpetuation of Trump’s own daily fabrications is both distressing and dangerous.
Even more pitifully ironic is the fact that the person whose post Trump retweeted is James O’Keefe, the ultra-right-wing media troll, self-described “guerrilla journalist,” and founder of Project Veritas.
O’Keefe made his career by launching phony undercover investigations of organizations vilified by conservative media, usually arranging video interviews under false pretenses and then issuing deceptively edited news packages that lead viewers to believe whatever false accusations O’Keefe is accusing his targets of being guilty of. Among his targets have been Planned Parenthood, NPR, and community-rights activists ACORN.
In 2010, O’Keefe was arrested and charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony at the office of United States Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). He was accompanied by three fellow activists dressed as telephone repairmen, leading to the additional charges of malicious intent to damage the phone system.
O’Keefe pleaded guilty in a deal that reduced the charges to a single misdemeanor count and was sentenced to three years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine. He walked free to continue his video pranks disguised as investigative journalism.
For a person such as this to decry ABC News‘ journalistic standards is like having Typhoid Mary carry out health department inspections of restaurant kitchens.
Yet the fact that Donald Trump forwarded a post from a proven purveyor of fake news is not the most ironic thing about his retweet.
The fact that the video clip attached to the post concerns the media coverup of the crimes of the late sexual predator of underage girls, the president’s proven pal Jeffrey Epstein, at a time when Trump himself is accused of denying or covering up similar allegations of rape and sexual assault by up to 26 different women takes the cake in the oblivious irony department.
Then again recognizing irony requires thought and self-awareness, two qualities noticeably lacking in this particular president.
Thoughtless clicking and retweeting is so much easier.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.