I keep thinking Donald Trump will smile like the Devil and admit his entire presidential campaign is an elaborately orchestrated "Punk'd" prank on the American public.
Until then — and as long as The Donald remains, somehow, a serious Republican contender — journalists must take him and his crazy statements/antics seriously.
The latest from The Onion — er, The Associated Press:
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) — Donald Trump called Monday for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," an idea swiftly condemned by his rival GOP candidates for president and other Republicans.
The proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of Islam who want to come to the U.S. The idea faced an immediate challenge to its legality and feasibility from experts who could point to no formal exclusion of immigrants based on religion in America's history.
Trump's campaign said in a statement such a ban should stand "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." It said the proposal comes in response to a level of hatred among "large segments of the Muslim population" toward Americans.
"Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life," Trump said in the statement.
Here at GetReligion, we advocate a traditional American model of the press in which reporters quote key sources, refrain from editorializing (such as calling Trump an idiot, as a blogger like me might do) and letting readers judge the facts for themselves.
In the case of Trump's Muslim proposal, here are five crucial voices that news reports would do well to reflect:
1. Constitutional law scholars.
4. Trump supporters.
5. Trump himself.
All of the above sources — yes, including Trump — can help readers understand exactly what's being proposed and the potential ramifications. Hearing from these sources — in their own words — provides important context and insight beyond 140-character Twitter commentaries and brainless Facebook memes.
In the meantime, forgive me for asking, but: How long can Trump's real-life "Saturday Night Live" skit go on?