Clowns clowning clowns: a reprise

Staff Editorial

Mason Schweizer, Opinion Editor

As a reader, if you are looking for words of malice concerning the latest detestable Donald Trump revelation, this newspaper is the wrong place to look. The “grab her by the pussy” video should not shock anyone, but at the same time it is hard to believe that the presidential race has come to this. However, there is no point in beating an old, racist, sexist, bigoted, misogynistic horse.

In the coming weeks, our staff will endorse a candidate, unless Trump drops out by then and leaves the already-weakened GOP even weaker. But for now, there is plenty to dissect in a media spectrum concerning the Trump Tape, as well as the latest shitshow of a debate.

First of all, the revelation of the Trump Tape, released by “The Washington Post” last week, is proof that despite all the budget cuts and technological advances that are stampeding traditional journalism, it still has an important place in media.

With recent legal proceedings in the Hulk Hogan and Gawker trial, the level of alert for media companies is at an all-time high concerning the posting of controversial video, audio, etc. The line of what is covered by the First Amendment and what isn’t is becoming murkier as the legal system attempts to clear it. Combine that with exorbitant fines producers and other owners of the alleged more sinister Trump Tapes face if leaking their videos, and a third-party person is needed to step in.

Traditional journalism, or print media if you would like to call it that, remains the way to go in that regard. Journalist David A. Fahrenthold, the Post journalist who published the audio clip, can legally protect his anonymous source that provided him and the newspaper with the video. On the other hand, former “Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett has claimed to have footage of Trump that he believes is worse, but he cannot legally release it.

The most similar case of anonymity would have to date back to the old duo of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and their handling of the Watergate scandal. The then-anonymous, now-identified source of “deepthroat,” known by the government name of Mark Felt, fed information to Woodward and Bernstein to help them bust the now infamous story. Felt, a former FBI special agent, faced no legal ramifications for his role.

As far as Trump goes, this latest development is one of the first times he has been hurt by the media. He is a man who feeds off the outlandish, spinning stories round and round so much that by the end, the average American can’t tell right from wrong or fact from fiction.

The question is, does Trump deserve credit for his arrogant trolling, or does his charade prove the cynics right—that our future is royally f****d—or both?

Mason Schweizer for The Wayne Stater