By Rex Huppke for the Chicago Tribune
After watching Donald Trump‘s campaign rally in Phoenix, it became clear that we in the media owe the president a sincere apology.
Trump used Tuesday night’s rally to denounce the “fake news” media for being mean, dishonest, bad, America-hating and an all-around pain in his keister.
Referring to controversial comments he made in the wake of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Trump said: “The words were perfect.”
He even quoted his own perfect words, cleverly omitting the part where he blamed the Charlottesville tragedy on “many sides” rather than just on the Nazi side, creating the controversy in the first place.
After spending 15 or so minutes complaining about the media, he said of the media: “For the most part, all they do is complain. … These are really, really dishonest people and they’re bad people and I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that.”
Well, I, for one, feel just terrible. It was never my intention, as a journalist, to make the president of the United States feel like he’s under some form of scrutiny or that he should be held accountable for the words that fall out of his mouth.
I wasn’t able to reach all my fake news brother and sisters after the rally — the instant-messaging system George Soros has us use was on the blink — but I feel confident most would concur with this formal apology.
As a fake news media member in good standing, I would like to sincerely apologize for forcing you to hold a campaign rally eight months into your first term as president.
I’m sorry that in the course of that rally I forced you to misquote yourself and to devote one reference to Heather Heyer, the woman killed during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, versus an inordinate number of references to the journalists who cover you and your administration.
I definitely should not have made you fail to mention the 10 American sailors who died or are missing from the Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain after it collided with an oil tanker Monday.
That was callous of me, and I am deeply sorry.
I also showed poor judgment in making you seem almost annoyed that you had to properly denounce the various hate groups that marched in Charlottesville chanting, “Jews will not replace us!”
And I definitely shouldn’t have had you say this during the rally: “I hit ’em with neo-Nazi. I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazis. I got them all in there, Let’s see. KKK, we have KKK.”
That almost made it sound like condemning hate groups made you the victim. Please accept my apology for that bit. It was callous and wholly inappropriate.
While I’m apologizing for Nazi stuff, I’m sorry I entered your brain and forced you to express sympathy for Jeffrey Lord, a commentator who was recently fired from CNN for tweeting “Sieg Heil!” at the head of a liberal watchdog group.
In retrospect, that was a weird and dreadfully timed thing to have you say, and I hope you will forgive me.
I regret having you say the following about clean coal: “They’re going to take out clean coal, meaning they’re taking out coal, they’re gonna clean it.”
Upon further reflection, that statement made it sound like you haven’t the foggiest idea what the term “clean coal” means and are quite unintelligent. That is 100 percent my bad. Perhaps with time we can mend the damage my recklessness has done to your reputation.
On two occasions, I lied to you via telepathy and convinced you that the cameras broadcasting your rally had been shut down because the media were too frightened to share your criticism of CNN and other outlets. That was transparently false, particularly since I watched the rally in its entirety on CNN. I’m sorry I made you lie about that. Twice.
Rather than have you refer to Republican Sen. John McCain, a war hero currently battling brain cancer, by name, I took the cowardly and childish path of instructing you to mock and taunt him using the phrase, “One vote away.” That was a reference to McCain’s deciding vote against your health care bill, which would have repealed Obamacare.
Hearing you screeching, “One vote away!” like an insolent child did not set the presidential tone I hoped it would. It was a terrible decision by me, and I am drowning in my own shame.
Convincing you to say that you will, if necessary, shut down the government in order to build your preposterous border wall was folly of near-biblical proportions, framing you as either: stubborn and narcissistic to the point of jeopardizing the country’s fiscal well-being and doing real harm to Americans who rely on government services just to save face, or a liar.
I will never live that one down.
I could go on and apologize for the lies I implanted in the left frontal lobe of your brain, including, but not limited to: CNN’s ratings are down (they’re up); a historic increase in defense spending (your proposed increase is neither historic nor a done deal); and there weren’t many protesters outside the rally (there were thousands).
But what’s the point? I have clearly failed you and, along with all media members, am responsible for your divisive rhetoric and mind-boggling unwillingness to step outside yourself for even one fraction of a moment and notice that you sound like an infantile madman.
I promise, from here on, to pamper you, to coddle your ego, to deflect all blame on others and to never accurately report on you, because that causes you to call me fake news.
Please accept this apology. I am not at all proud of the things I’ve made you do.
And America shouldn’t be either.