‘Media’ Doesn’t Exist; Presidents, Plumbers Do

About 300 newspapers published pre-arranged editorials centered on the same theme at nearly the same time earlier this month.

My hometown newspaper, the Courier-Express of DuBois, did not do so.

I am proud of our newspaper for demonstrating the truth that there is no such thing as “the” media. We are pluralistic, independent and damn proud of being so.

I am appalled that so many newspapers would give credibility to the stupid criticisms of “the media” in this country.

Think about it.

If there is such a thing as “the media” — and from 1963-2013, when I worked at newspapers, there was no such “the” thing — “the media” would speak with one voice, either “Bad President Trump!” or “Good President Trump!”

Instead, we have Fox News usually chanting “Good President Trump!” and CNN often chanting “Bad President Trump!” We have done both, depending on the issues.

It has always been that way. Newspapers, the only news media of the day in pre-electronic America, savaged Jefferson, Quincy Adams and Jackson — and were not even always fair toward George Washington, despite his towering reputation as the “Father of our Country.”

Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers basically got us into the Spanish-American War and their predecessors legitimized the Mexican War — with President James K. Polk’s blessing.

Other news outlets defended Jefferson, Quincy Adams, etc. and argued against those wars. Good.

I am no friend of President Trump. Way back in 2016, I called him, in print, a liar, a bully, a welsher, a narcissist and a self-admitted crotch-grabbing misogynist.

Two years of Trump in the White House have reinforced my beliefs that the man lies like most of us breathe, that he bullies whenever he is attacked and that he loves only himself, with possible lesser degrees of affection for some family members. I have not seen recent evidence of welshing or egregious misogynism, but I still despise the man– politically. Personally, I wish him a long life and a happy death.

I just don’t want to have anything to do with the man, which is my right under the First Amendment’s association clause.

But Trump has not done a half-bad job as President.

Yes, yes. Some accomplishments during Trump’s term would have been tried by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or John Kasich, Trump’s vanquished primary rivals.

But they would not have succeeded as Trump has succeeded in buoying the economy, reducing illegal immigration, getting us out of bad trade deals, shifting federal courts toward strict-constructionist Constitutional law interpreting and away from lawmaking, etc.

Those other candidates were all “establishment,” or, in Trump’s words, “swamp dwellers.” So were Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he (happily) vanquished, and Bernie Sanders, the Socialist that Hillary cheated out of any chance at the Democratic nomination.

The country needed a sea change.

Trump is providing that.

The changes are not always in the directions I would like to see. But he is running things – and Congress is gathering its own forces, getting ready to reassert its historical Congressional prerogatives that have been too often ceded to Presidents.

Trump’s Tweets and speeches are so nauseating to me that I all but ignore them. I scan his words in Internet news site stories, yes. But I don’t watch Fox, or CNN. We have no TV service, by choice.

Trump man reminds me of a plumber I once had.

Our current plumbers are delightful chaps.

This one was not.

He smelled, literally. His “plumber’s crack” was a four-lane highway, leading somewhere unmentionable but all too observable. He couldn’t complete a sentence without using a profanity. He burped, and passed gas, doing both loudly.

But he was one hell of a plumber. He came, he saw, he fixed, he charged fair prices and he left quickly.

I did not like him either.

But he was my plumber until we moved.

Same with Trump. He is my President, for good or for ill, until he is not.

Our small newspaper is not an “enemy of the people.”

We could tell you that, but why bother? You read us. You know that, despite occasional warts and blemishes, we honestly report the news of the day to the best of our ability. You see the names on our pages: DuBois City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio, and Garfield the Cat. You know Herm is a real person, and Garfield is a cartoon creation.

The folks who run this newspaper decided, to their everlasting credit, to not let the Boston Globe, the New York Times or even our own state-level Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association pre-empt our pages to proclaim with one voice that we are not “the enemy of the people.”

By doing so, those other newspapers sadly gave credibility to the false perception that “the media” speaks with one voice by prearrangement or dictation.

We are “a news organization,” not “the media.”

And President Trump is … well, he is who he is. I personally don’t like him. But I do have occasional needs for a plumber – and our President.


Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: denny2319@windstream.net