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5 Signs You're Suffering from 'Trump Trauma'

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I just finished reading Howard Kurtz’s Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, and the War Over the Trutha fascinating insider's perspective on the mainstream media's unprecedented hostility toward the Trump White House. Kurtz, a seasoned Fox News host, says too many members of the media are currently suffering from what he calls "Trump Trauma." After reading Media Madness, I'm pleased to report I can confidently recognize the telltale signs of Trump Trauma. Want to self-diagnose? Read on: 

If you’re willing to state gross generalizations as fact, you’ve got Trump Trauma. 

If there is one thing that Media Madness is full of, it is the media’s gross exaggerations and generalizations. Back before Trump was elected, The Huffington Post fixated on the idea that POTUS was not worthy of any section but Entertainment – and they stubbornly kept him there until after he was elected. Arianna Huffington displayed similar sentiment by ending every Trump article with an editor’s note that ran thus: “Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims – 1.6 billion members of an entire religion – from entering the U.S.” So much for unbiased journalism. Noah Shactmann, executive editor of the Daily Beast, wrote that “if you’re renting in a Trump building or playing a round of golf at a Trump resort, you are supporting racism and neo-fascism.” Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith called Trump a “mendacious racist.” Clearly, the media has decided that their opinion of Trump’s racism (and all assorted other insults) is undisputed fact. 

If you shamelessly manipulate your former friends, you’ve got Trump Trauma. 

Kellyanne Conway, devoted mother of three and Trump’s campaign manger, often will say that she is “the most pro-press person in the White House.” Conway’s relationship with the press had always been good; she was particularly savvy at working the media, charming on television, and humorously snarky in her responses. It wasn’t just that Conway was a good personality – she was good to the media and the media was good to her. Media Madness shows that all that has changed. Reporters who once were Conway’s friends now lay traps for her in every way possible; taunting her about her daughters, her status as a parent, her opinions on feminism as a pro-life woman. “Kellyanne, how are the kids?” The journalists and reporters would ask her pleasantly. “Did you find a house in Washington? Love that dress.” Then, as Kurtz says “they would eviscerate her.” 

If you’re willing to make caustic remarks backed by unnamed sources, you’ve got Trump Trauma.

There’s nothing better than a journalist who reports on her imagination. That would be Julia Ioffe, a reporter who wrote a condescending profile of Melania Trump casting FLOTUS as nothing more than a trophy wife – a piece that landed Ioffe a job offer from the Atlantic. Soon after, as Kurtz relates, Ioffe startlingly and randomly dropped an obscene tweet about Ivanka Trump and her increasing responsibilities in the White House: “Either Trump is f***ing his daughter or he’s shirking nepotism laws. Which is worse?” When former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer furiously called Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of The Atlantic and a nationally known foreign policy writer, the only comment Goldberg would offer was the following: “Well, she apologized. Everyone deserves a second chance.” 

If you can’t take what you give, you’ve got Trump Trauma. 

Honestly, one of Media Madness’s most horrifying revelations is the media’s infantile inability to take what they give. Jonathan Martin is a perfect exhibition of this. Weeks before the Republican National Convention, one of the RNC staff members called up Martin to challenge one of his stories. Apparently unable to stomach this, Martin angrily told the staff member: “You’re a racist and a fascist; Donald Trump is a racist and a fascist, we all know it, and you are complicit. By supporting him you’re all culpable.” Later on, Martin accused the staffer – and the entire Trump entourage -of supporting a racist campaign and candidate. Press Secretary Sean Spicer called Martin’s editor and filled his ears about Martin’s insulting behavior. Scarcely half an hour had passed before Martin was screaming at Spicer on the phone, “How dare you go behind my back? What are you doing calling one of my editors?” “Excuse me,” Spicer told him, “you call one of my people and say this and I don’t have the right to complain?” No, Spicer, no-he has unfortunately been diagnosed with Trump Trauma and can’t take what he gives. 

If you’re willing to blatantly lie, you’ve definitely got Trump Trauma. 

“Environmentalist activists pulled off a daring act of defiance.” Thus read the lead sentence in a Washington Post news story, suggesting that noble actions had been accomplished by long-suffering anti-Trump personages. In reality, several protestors had snuck onto a Trump golf course in California and committed acts of vandalism by carving six-foot letters in the greens. This story, as Kurtz points out, should have simply been routine coverage: imagine the absolute insanity that would have let loose had The Washington Post covered a story of that nature regarding Barak Obama--on his very property! The “blunder” was later acknowledged in an editor’s note, just as many, many other similar episodes have been acknowledged (or have not). 

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