A sampling of recent headlines from major news outlets:
- Trump suggests that North Carolina voters should vote twice
- Trump suggests postponing the election
- Trump suggests using ‘light and heat’ as a coronavirus cure
- Trump suggests Roger Stone did nothing wrong
- Trump suggests a Boycott of AT&T to Punish CNN
- Trump suggests Giving Teachers Guns
- Trump suggests Holding Next G7 at His Resort
- Trump suggests Using Bedrock China Policy as Bargaining Chip
There are even worse examples, but I can’t bear to look them up.
One of the most destructive patterns in journalism today is the way that legitimate media outlets timidly write about Trump. The man may be incapable of speaking in coherent English and studiously avoids complete sentences (have you ever tried to read a transcript of him speaking?). But when a president speaks or writes, he or she does not “suggest.” A president does not make “suggestions.” Everything a president says or writes is an on-the-record pronouncement of policy, irrespective of the medium or the grammar. The media should treat it as such. His cronies certainly do.