This "Orange Man Bad" Obsession Is Killing Journalism

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

The cynical reader might take a look at this headline and mutter to themselves “Journalism is already dead.” It’s certainly easy to say it is, given the plethora of media missteps and mistakes that have come one after another since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.


Sure, there are a lot of reasons to question Trump’s integrity and honesty. There is also the fact that many of the things he does aren’t new, but he does them way more publicly than other presidents have before. Trump has a tendency to do the quiet part out loud. Whether or not some of those particular actions are bad, morally questionable, or whatever is certainly up for debate.

And, yes, questioning the President of the United States and fact-checking his statements is part of the press’s job. One would wish the press had done it in the eight years prior to Trump’s assumption of the office.

That, though, is the problem. The press sat on much of the outright falsehoods thrown out by the Democrats from 2009-2016 and only fact-checked Republican criticism of those falsehoods. Now, it is the opposite. The President is fact-checked constantly and the Democratic criticisms of the President largely go unchecked. Aside from it not being fair, it wades into the realm of the outright stupid.

Consider the fact-checking of the medal of honor dog. Media outlets raced to contact the White House in order to check to see if an obvious photoshop – depicting Trump giving a Medal of Honor to a military dog who took part in the ISIS leader raid – was in fact real. They were so eager to dunk on this photoshop that they ignored the utter stupidity of such an act.


Also, consider the media’s decision to actually leap to the defense of that ISIS leader after Trump claimed he died crying like a coward. You had actual journalists and pundits acting as though the man died a hero – THE LEADER OF ISIS, MIND YOU – in order to “fact-check” the President.

Caleb Howe at Mediaite nailed it perfectly:

The absolute absurdity of it all is that the media won’t learn its lesson from this. They will continue to press ahead as though this is all perfectly normal behavior. It’s not, though, and no matter how many times even the Trump-skeptical conservatives (me included) say “My dudes, you are being a bit stupid here,” it won’t make a difference.


Journalism has spent the last several years acting foolish, and there is almost no real faith among the American public in the media as a result of it. It’s a damn shame, but they only have themselves to blame in all this.


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