Via his Twitter account, of course, Donald Trump announced he would be giving a presidential address tomorrow evening on the “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.” There is of course no national security crisis, at least not one that any actual subject-matter expert can discern, and the only “humanitarian” crisis has been the Trump policy of putting refugee children in child prisons.
So will the networks air what is transparently a partisan political outburst rather than a national security concern? The record would suggest they would not; they refused to air an address by President Barack Obama on immigration matters in 2014, so there is recent precedent here, even without taking into account the manifest dishonesty of the current White House occupant.
But television executives are deeply stupid, a stupid of the sort that is regularly baffling to all those around them, a stupid so commonplace and legendary that it has forever been the butt of jokes on comedy shows aired by those same executives, and so things aren’t that simple. As an unnamed Biff explains:
TV exec texts: "He calls us fake news all the time, but needs access to airwaves… If we give him the time, he'll deliver a fact-free screed without rebuttal. And if we don't give him the time, he'll call every network partisan. So we are damned if we do and damned if we don't."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 7, 2019
Problems with this:
• Giving a man free network airtime when you already know he will be using it to deceive the American public with “a fact-free screed without rebuttal” is considerably worse than having the man call you bad names.
• There is literally no plausible action you could take that would not result in Donald Trump shrieking about how every news organization is out to get him, and there’s not a chance in hell he will stop shrieking it, as he did again mere hours ago, if you give him Just One More Use Of Your Airwaves.
Nobody is this dumb unless it’s on purpose. So we can conclude it’s on purpose.
So which networks will air what they already know to be a dishonestly premised political attack? It’s not clear. Will they attempt to inform Americans that the serial liar is again not on the level, with fact-checkers or a partisan rebuttal? It’s not clear. But CNN, the network that hosts Brian Stelter as he asks these questions and the network that continues to oblige Trump’s every whim and hire his every ally and cast-off, has already announced it will.
Given prior precedent and the already obviously misleading premise of the “address” itself, this is an easy choice. Obviously, the networks should decline. But Network Biff up there is, apparently, still looking for that one last thing his network could do that would make the raging delusional malignant narcissist suddenly treat it right, and there’s not a thing Trump could do that would result in CNN executives second-guessing their efforts to continually hump his leg.