Friday, People magazine did what magazines do: they printed an issue on the new President-elect and his family. They didn’t, however, include in that article the hatred he encouraged and the fear that he has inspired in different halves of the country. This drew the anger of many, some even calling for a boycott of the periodical. Much of that anger stemmed from the magazine’s seeming reversal after previously publishing a cover story about their reporter Natasha Stoyanoff being attacked by Trump during an interview.
People magazine defended their special Trump issue to Fox News:
“Donald Trump’s win is a history-making news event that warranted the cover of the magazine,” a rep for the magazine told FOX411. “The story is not a celebration or an endorsement and we continue to stand by Natasha Stoynoff, whose account of being attacked by Trump in 2005 is recounted in this week’s cover story.”
Conservatives are up in arms about the outrage and threatened boycott. Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the right-wing media “content analysis group” Media Research Center, said:
“The left learned nothing from ridiculous amounts of media bias that led to Trump’s victory. They don’t want any normalcy. They expect every so-called neutral outlet to reflect the liberal agenda that Trump is somehow not a legitimate president,” he said. “We saw this with Matt Lauer also, because he wasn’t overly biased against Trump. Already, Americans are rejecting the news media as being biased. The left wants to encourage that view.”
What he seems to miss is this: reporting the facts isn’t “overly biased” but ignoring them absolutely is. Especially in light of the fact that the overly offended Gainor was forgetting to mention something. You see, the hashtag in use for this possible boycott, #BoycottPeopleMagazine was just recently in use by conservatives for an article that — you guessed it — was positive about Hillary Clinton:
Put this in your Politics Makes For Strange Bedfellows scrapbook; until recently that hashtag was the darling of conservatives outraged by all the glowing People magazine articles and photos about Dem candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also seems to be missing that the idea “that Trump is not a legitimate president” is stemming from the vast number of people that believe he will never, ever, act like he is there for all Americans. The right wing wants us to ignore Trump’s racism, ignore his xenophobia, and ignore the fear he’s ignited in this country. They want us to treat him like just another president. But he’s not.
Normalizing, or simply not mentioning the fact that small attacks on minorities and women started immediately after his election (even before his inauguration) is wrong. Normalizing fascism, the marriage of authoritarianism and nationalism with a business controlled government, is wrong. Perhaps ignoring the historical event and impact of the race is wrong, too. But so is glossing over the context it occurred in. We must hold the media to a higher standard.
People magazine was not politically spinning hatred or un-American behavior as acceptable. To their credit, they supported their reporter, even against a litigious candidate. To pretend that they haven’t covered both sides at all would be wrong.
However, the reaction to their “normalizing” of this situation must be a wake-up call to all media. This country is going to require unrelenting honesty and fair coverage of all sides from the mainstream media. Partisan sources like blogs and openly “Liberal” or “Conservative” outlets will be expected to flesh out their sides of those issues. (However, it is going to be hard for half of the country to see treating a man who has promised to hurt our family and friends as People’s “history-making news event,” without the caveat of “horrifying,” or at least “angering.”)
Until and unless “President Trump” becomes more than a man pitting one half of this country against the other — while blaming the media, Mexicans and Muslims for it — the media should under no circumstances treat him like “any other president.” He is historic, (with only 1/4 of the country choosing this historical path) but “historic” is not the same as “normal” or “acceptable” and it’s about time the media took responsibility for their failure to educate the public about who and what Trump is.