Scoot: 2017 - The year of Trump, hypocrisy and New Orleans

December 26, 2017 - 12:24 pm

As every year comes to a close, we look back and think about the extraordinary events of the passing year. As extraordinary as one year is, each year is filled with stories and events that define that year as memorable. But there should be no debate as to the extraordinary year of 2017!

In the first month of 2017 Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States; and that launched a wild, new era in the relationship between the news media and the POTUS. The first shots in Trump’s “War on the Media” were fired during the campaign, but once he became president, Trump’s declaration of “War on the Media” was obvious.

The political strategy of the Trump administration has been to discredit all news that was critical of the President or members of his administration. And President Trump took full advantage of the general public’s distrust of a biased news media. The right has always condemned the news media for supporting a liberal agenda; and the left has criticized the established conservative media outlet, from The Fox News Channel to the overwhelming number of conservative radio talk show hosts that span America. The right complains about the “liberal media” while the left complains about the “conservative media” as both sides refuse to see a new balance in biased media.

All presidents have had their issues with the news media because the important function of the news media to watch and report on the decisions and actions of the government on behalf of the people. It’s natural the government does not like being watched, but the role of the news media in America is to prevent any politician or political institution from controlling the news to t he point where democracy is threatened.

President Trump’s use of Twitter to communicate with the country was both praised and condemned even by many Republicans. But the Trump tweets started many of the controversies of 2017. I have never been critical of the President tweeting; I have only been critical of some of the tweets Trump decided to send. Twitter and social media are effective mediums by which presidents can communicate directly with the American people, but the messages will be praised or condemned based on content and not the use of social media. It did appear that President Trump used tweets to distract from unfavorable news and to bash his critics. Many called that “bullying” – Trump supporters said it was fair.

The year of 2017 was a year when the hypocrisy of both sides reached epic proportions. One story helped define that hypocrisy. It was the story of the play “Julius Caesar,” which was revised to have the character of Julius Caesar resemble President Trump, who faced the fate of the main character in the play. That sparked controversy because Trump supporters said it was a suggestion that President Trump be assassinated.

The play was part of the free Shakespeare in the Park event. Delta Airlines and Bank of America were among the sponsors that pulled their support. While it may have been wrong to depict the POTUS as a character who is assassinated, the defense of Trump came from a group that we doubt would have raised and eyebrow if the character had been President Obama. We might even have heard that such a message is protected by the First Amendment.

It was also interesting that in 2017 a group called “Gays for Trump” was denied the right to have a float in the Pride Parade in Charlotte, NC. Pride organizers said that the group “Gays for Trump” did not represent the mission of the parade. I found it ironic that a group that has been fighting for inclusion of gays would exclude a group of gays over their political beliefs. The denial of “Gays for Trump” to parade in the Pride Parade suggested that all of the LGBT community should have the same political beliefs and that just seems un-American.

For those who didn’t know, 2017 was the year Fox News host Shepard Smith openly talked about the fact that he is gay and talked about how society’s norms forced him to originally keep his sexual orientation private. Shep spoke at the Ole Miss school of journalism and said of his gay lifestyle, “I don’t think about it.” He said, “It’s not a thing. I go to work. I manage a lot of people. I cover the news. I deal with holy hell around me. I go home to the man I’m in love with.”

After much public debate, tolls on the Causeway went up from $3 to $5 and from $2 to $3 with a toll tag. The money is supposed to be used to make the Causeway safer and whether that is worth the price was the basis of the debate. As far as I know, there has been no appreciable decrease in the number of cars crossing the Causeway.

And in 2017 – New Orleans made a list of the Best Cites for Recreation! That was the good news. The bad news was NOLA was #22 on the list and was beaten by Boise, ID, Sacramento, CA and St. Louis, MO. The website that did the ranking was WalletHub and I can’t help but think they missed some of the best places in New Orleans.

How was 2017 for you? Was it a year when more good than bad happened?

Tomorrow we will continue our series on 2017.

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