Monthly Archives: January 2016

[Not] Just Lazy [but Dangerous] Reporting #2 – Matt Frei’s Attack on Donald Trump

The rape allegation. Well, we’ve had the Hitler comparison (see Matt Frei post #1), so why not throw in this despicable crime? And thrown in it very much seemed to be, close to the end of Matt Frei’s documentary, with an extra special Ivana Trump “sound-a-like” reading from the correction to the deposition she originally gave in her divorce proceedings.

Ivana Trump’s experience of the rape allegation, according to Harry Hurt III, appears below (along with Ivana’s own explanation, in the footnotes, of what she actually meant to say):

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A slightly more balanced version of the rape/not rape debate can be read here at The Independent, where Ivana’s own words are given more worth than they are in Frei’s documentary, where she is skipped over in order to leave the viewer lingering over the rape imagery. As with the Hitler allegation, Frei chooses to present one version of Trump, with little effort put in to actually corroborating his “facts” and/or sources.

Donald Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, remains good friends with him to this day, and refutes the “twisting” of her words. It seems disingenuous at best to dismiss her thoughts on the matter, and perhaps dangerous, because if Trump can be accused of silencing Ivana, so can Frei in the way he ignores her return to the subject.

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Just Lazy Reporting #1 – Matt Frei’s Attack on Donald Trump

What should have been an interesting piece of reporting on the current success of Donald Trump in the build up to the Republican nominations ended up being a sloppy bit of gossip TV. Matt Frei’s “The Mad World of Donald Trump” lowered the bar on journalistic reporting by failing to engage with the question of why Donald Trump is so popular as a political figure. Instead, the hour-long show opted for cheap gags about Trump’s “political” rallies, his business failings, his extreme right-wing views, and his lack of policy – which we are all very aware of. What none of us are aware of, because no one is asking the question, is why Trump speaks to a significant number of Americans.

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There are too many problems with Frei’s reporting style to fit into a bite-sized blog post, and so these problems will be aired over the coming days. One of the most disturbing comments to come from the programme was from the young man with the derelict house plastered in anti-Trump slogans – he likened Trump to Adolf Hitler. Such a biased view does not take into account that the circumstances of Trump’s potential reign as supreme leader is very different to that of Adolf – Trump clearly hates people of colour, but it seems that his goal is to remove them from the country, or to stop them from entering in the first place. He certainly doesn’t advocate genocide, or the invasion of other countries. Trump’s potential candidacy as the Republican nomination is worrying. He is not the future. His views are a disgrace. But…

He offers something to a significant section of American society that it clearly feels is missing presently. He fans the flames of hatred – and for that to happen, hatred must already be present. Instead of dismissing Trump’s supporters as stupid white Americans (the view of the political commentator sitting on the porch with Frei), their views should be analysed to make sense of what is happening in the country. A potential swing from Obama to Trump, still a long way from happening, would be seismic in that we’d have gone from “hope” to “hate” in two terms.


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