What a train wreck.
Please be patient with me here, because I'm trying to do something with a post that I have not done before.
I thought the online slang for this act was "re-up," but the urban dictionaries say that has turned into a drug-culture term. I was looking for the term online writers use when they put one of their old posts back up again, since they really don't want to add anything to an earlier comment that they made about a controversial topic.
It's kind of like #WhatHeSaid, only you're doing it for yourself (if that makes any sense). It's something like this "re-up" definition at Merriam-Webster:
2 : to officially agree or persuade someone to officially agree that an existing arrangement will continue for an additional period of time
In this case, the main thing that I am trying to say is (a) I am depressed about public discourse in the Donald Trump age, (b) I am depressed about news coverage of events in the Trump era and (c) I am depressed about the impact of Trump and news coverage of Trump on American culture.
The end result is sort of like this, care of a tweet by bipartisan political activist Bruce Mehlman:
Why are these (and other stats in this chart) so skewed? It hard to avoid the conclusion that it's linked to all of the advocacy media that Republicans and Democrats are consuming. And that's what depresses me the most, when we are talking about issues like the so-called #MuslimBan.
This brings me to my re-up of a January 30, 2017, post that I wrote with this headline: "A weekend of #MuslimBan: Did it help for press to ignore key contents of executive order?"
I offer this as a sad response to the post earlier today by colleague Bobby Ross about the mainstream coverage of the Supreme Court's rather reluctant decision that Trump's "Muslim Ban" executive order. Click here to see Bobby's post. A major theme in that coverage is that religious-liberty lobby groups on the right are being strangely silent -- or hypocritical -- about the #MuslimBan decision, while they have cheered earlier decisions that favored First Amendment rights for religious conservatives.
But wait. Did the court approve the contents and intent of the Trump policy or did it reluctantly rule that Trump had the right to put such a policy into effect (and Congress should pass legislation to straighten all this out)?
I am doing a re-up of my earlier post to raise another issue that I still believe is possible: Is the vast majority of coverage of the whole #MuslimBan, and this Supreme Court case, focusing on what Trump SAID about this policy or is it focusing on the actual contents of this rushed, flawed and somewhat confused executive order? Are Americans on both the left and the right (and the advocacy journalists that feed them) both flying blind as a result of what some have called "Trump Trauma"?
So pardon me as I go back to my grieving.
Now, here is that "re-up" post from 2017.
What a train wreck. There is really no way to dig into the thousands, maybe millions, of words that the mainstream press poured out over the weekend in coverage of President Donald Trump's rushed, flawed executive order creating a temporary ban on most refugees from lands racked by conflicts with radicalized forms of Islam.
My main question, in this post, does not concern the merits of order or the process that created it. That's clearly part of the train wreck and, as someone who was openly #NeverTrump (and #NeverHillary), I think mainstream reporters should go after that mess that with the same fervor they dedicated to the humanitarian impact of the previous administration's policies in Syria, Iraq, etc. We need to know who decided to rollout such a important executive order in such a slapdash, incompetent fashion -- especially whatever it did or didn't say about people in transit or those with green cards.
Now, I would like to focus on one question in particular related to this journalistic blitz that I think will be of special interest to GetReligion readers.
The hashtag for the day was clearly #MuslimBan, even though the order contained language specifically trying to protect many oppressed Muslims. The media also focused on Trump's statements pledging to protect oppressed Christians (I know it's hard to #IgnoreTrump, even when it's wise to do so), even though the text of the order said something else.
My question: Did journalists make this tragic crisis worse by ignoring or mangling some key contents of this order? Following the action on Twitter, it seemed that there are two stances on that.
The first was from Trump critics on the left, which included almost all elite media. It said: The news coverage of the executive order was fine. We all know what Trump meant, no matter what the order's words said. So there.
The second -- with very few exceptions -- was among conservative Trump critics (click here for essential National Review essay by #NeverTrump stalwart David French). It said: The EO was messed up and flawed, but press didn't help by ignoring the order's content. This, along with Trump sloppiness and ego, helped add to the panic and added to the firestorm that hurt real people.
It certainly did appear that, in many cases, panicky police and immigration officials acted like they were enforcing what press reports said the executive order said, rather than the text of the order (which was rushed out in a crazed, flawed manner). I hope there is follow-up coverage on that issue.
So, when considering these questions, what is the key passage of the #MuslimBan order?
Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.
I first became aware of that passage because I follow CNN's Kirsten Powers on Twitter. She is, of course, an articulate voice on the cultural left (on most issues) and a Trump critic from the get-go. However, she provided crucial, sane journalistic input all day Saturday for those willing to listen. I especially appreciated her focus on the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in these lands -- including sects inside Islam.