I already told my classmate Ed, who writes here occasionally, that he was not going to like this particular column. That's fair; I shouldn't have to write it, actually. Let's just say it does not say a lot about where we are as a nation, and he strongly agrees.
Southeast Texas is trying to emerge from a multi-day hurricane/tropical storm event that inundated the greater Houston area and many miles around it, with as much as four feet of rain. I mean, we were in the path of Hurricane Matthew last fall -- the eye actually went over us here -- and we only got about four inches of rain. Four feet is unfathomable.
OK, it actually is "fathomable"; it's two-thirds of a fathom. Nerdulence alert over.
As is appropriate, given that all recent presidents have done so after a major storm, President Trump and his wife Melania got into Air Force One a couple days after the storm hit to go down and survey the damage, and as much to reassure the dampened citizenry that their plight had the full attention and urgency of the Federal government, and to make sure that both the local and state governmental bodies would be supported by Washington, and that the Federal agencies, specifically FEMA and DHS, would be responded to quickly. Lots to do.
We should note that it appears from the commentary of those local leaders, such as the governors of Texas and Louisiana, that they felt very confident from their communications with the president that he was absolutely doing what they needed. At the least, those responses suggested that the media would have a lot of trouble claiming that President Trump had not done what presidents should.
Oh, it didn't stop Jen Psaki, the communications director for Hillary Clinton's abysmal "How-do-we-make-the-Clintons-richer" State Department, from actually writing that he should not have gone so soon. The piece was laughable (I'd be embarrassed to link it), because you know and I know, and Jen Psaki knows, that if he had waited until a couple days later -- i.e., today -- to go, she would have written the same piece saying he should have gone two days earlier. We know that.
I think it was Mike Huckabee, I believe, who said something yesterday like "If Donald Trump had flown to Texas, stood there and physically inhaled every drop of the 50 inches of rain they got in south Texas and spit it all back into the sea, there would be four networks out there complaining that he spit all that water out in the wrong place." He can't win.
So President Trump gets on board Air Force One with his wife and a few days worth of clothing. And that's where things got a bit dicey -- yes, clothing. You see, Melania Trump, who is notably and famously a wearer of distinctive, stylish clothing as a former model, actually boarded Air Force One in Washington wearing high heels.
Oh, the shame.
So any number of journalistic porn stars came out with their horror that Melania Trump, the First Lady, would board a plane headed for flooded Texas wearing high heels. I remember hearing that Hollywood Reporter and Politico were definitely two of them, an the other couple three were even more prominent outlets of fake news. I don't want to guess, and it doesn't matter.
I can't decide which part of this story was worse. I mean, if Jackie Kennedy or Michelle Obama had worn heels to board Air Force One to go to a natural disaster survey, well, it's hard to imagine that Politico would take her to task. So there's the depressing bias side of the story. But we should also apply an inconvenient truth to apply here.
She wasn't wearing them when they landed in Texas.
That's a bit problematic for the fake news types, but yes, Melania Trump had on sneakers when she got off the plane in Houston. That means, of course, that the outrage needed to be confined to her attire in Washington, DC. The First Lady did her touring of the flooded areas wearing sneakers, the footwear the guardians of style in Politico had wanted her to wear. But they went to press anyway.
What do we say, folks? Thirty people or so have died in the floods that the president is in Texas trying to help the area recover from, and Politico is concerned about what the First Lady is wearing when she gets on a plane in Washington.
I don't care if they had ten other articles on the hurricane and floods and this was an afterthought. It was a contemptible minimization of the importance of what actually happened that is an affront to everyone who got a drop of rain on them this week. It should be about the victims and the first responders, the stories of the people, the heroes and the tragedies. It is for us.
I don't mean to tell even the most contemptible journalistic rag what they should or shouldn't write about. But when you put out a non-story (it is a non-story, given, you know, the sneakers) that is shamelessly obviously there to embarrass the president and not convey a shred of actual information, well, I think I will tell you.
This, friends, is where journalism has gone in the 21st Century.
We should be so proud.
Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
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