August 14, 2018

Is Anybody Still Interested in Pundits Discussing Whether Trump is Racist?

Omarosa Manigault
By Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0]
I said something positive about CNN recently, so I figured I better share my disgust with what they've been up to lately so that nobody thinks I've gone crazy or something. Following President Trump's tweets about this bizarre Omarosa person (who until very recently only appears to have had a first name), CNN decided to play their greatest hits. They convened panel after panel filled with assorted pundits to discuss the vital subject of whether President Trump is a racist. Every time I have flipped over to CNN, this is what I saw. Who is asking for this? Does anybody still have any interest in this?

I have a difficult time imagining that anybody, regardless of their political persuasion, does not already have an opinion on the question of whether Trump is racist. These pundits aren't changing any minds. I have an even more difficult time believing that anybody cares. I don't mean that nobody cares that he may or may not be a racist; that's not the case. I mean that nobody cares what these pundits think because this is not a new subject on which people are seeking information.

Those who are convinced that Trump is a racist don't need any more convincing. Those who are convinced that Trump is not a racist don't need any more convincing. This sort of coverage isn't changing any minds, and it doesn't seem to be informing anyone of anything. It looks an awful lot like someone is trying to fill time. It looks like what might be called a slow news day.

But what about the outrage? Aren't these panels often designed to outrage the audience to keep them watching? Many of them are, and reporting the facts about what Trump tweeted may well do that. But the pundits droning on about whether he is racist or not - is anybody even paying attention to that at this point? Is there anybody out there on the right who would be a gung-ho Trump supporter if it wasn't for his racism? Is there anybody out there on the left who would "resist" Trump even more if they could only be persuaded that he was racist? I doubt it.

When I see the mainstream cable news, CNN in this case, wasting time on this sort of nonsense, I automatically think it must be a slow news day. I realize that is rarely the case. The rest of the world does not stop whenever Trump tweets something stupid. This isn't a slow news day as much as it is a deliberate choice to prioritize this sort of garbage over almost everything else. Or maybe I just have really bad luck based on when I attempt to watch CNN.

Some conservatives will be quick to argue that this is exactly what liberals want because liberals have convinced themselves that there is nothing worse than being a racist. While I agree with the last half of this (i.e., some liberals do seem to have convinced themselves of this), I still have a hard time believing that many liberals are still interested in watching pundits discuss the question.