You could probably file this one under “Media Double-Standard” or whatever, but it’s honestly just… depressing.
Melania Trump hasn’t made a public appearance for weeks now, following a surgical procedure that, by all accounts, she got through very well. She’s been in recovery, I assume, and frankly being the wife of the most powerful man in the world is probably a stressful venture.
Now, Melania is scheduled to make her first public appearance in weeks later today, but yesterday weeks of whispers about where she could be turned into a full-blown media conspiracy that was as embarrassing as it was horrifying.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 3, 2018
This irritates me for numerous reasons. The first is that there is no evidence she “disappeared.” Maybe that’s the reason for the quotation marks around the word, but that’s irresponsible writing, and one would assume a guy who made it to host of a show on CNN would know how to write responsibly.
Second, do you think that if Donald Trump’s wife had gone missing, Donald Trump would have kept quiet about it on Twitter? No. But, strangely, Melania is one of the few subjects he doesn’t talk about on social media. In fact, he rarely talks about family on Twitter, probably because even he knows what horrible things have been said and will continue to be said about his family.
Not only that, but Melania herself is an incredibly private person. She is not out there seeking cameras or attention, and this isn’t a new practice, either. It dates back to when she first became a Trump. She’s never really wanted to share his spotlight, and so she’s stayed pretty quiet.
Now, when it was pointed out to Stelter that she would be appearing in public later today, his reaction showed how unserious he really is.
if the event is closed press, it means the "melania hasn't been seen in public" issue will linger.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 4, 2018
The “Melania hasn’t been seen in public” issue is, in fact, not an issue at all. Only on social media are small handfuls of people actually saying anything, and they are only saying it because they see members of the political press, like Stelter, making an issue of it.
Does anyone actually care that Melania hasn’t been seen in public? No. Does that stop the media from speculating? Of course not. If there is something they believe is an issue, there are plenty of reporters and even entire newsrooms who will force it down your throat.
However, Stelter is not the only one doing some irresponsible speculating here, but his is certainly way milder than Jamil Smith’s speculating.
I wish that I didn’t suspect that the prolonged, poorly explained public absence of Melania Trump could be about concealing abuse. I wish that it was a ludicrous prospect. I wish that the @POTUS wasn’t a man with a history of abusing women, including those to whom he is married.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 3, 2018
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of Trump as a person, especially given his past acts and statements about women, but this goes way beyond disagreeing with his character. This is an outright attack on not just the man but his wife, leveling an accusation that is unsubstantiated in order to generate controversy.
In the past, we’ve been told that the family is off-limits. Wives and children of presidents were supposed to be beyond the reach of the commentariat. Sure, if they got involved politically, then we can critique their views, but we (as a society) have never tolerated personal attacks against the First Family.
However, now it seems to be totally fine to speculate that she is a victim of domestic violence and that’s why Trump won’t let her out in public. It’s an absurd double-standard, and it’s a damn shame that we’ve gotten to this point.
We have apparently learned nothing from the Samantha Bee incident. While Jamil Smith isn’t calling Melania any part of the female anatomy at all, he is taking a very personal route in attacking Trump by suggesting he is beating his wife – with no evidence at that.
This is unacceptable. Her absence from the public eye has turned into a stupid conspiracy theory being chased by members of the media. Shame on anyone buying into it.