On Sunday’s edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter began a segment by asking "Are you exhausted? Are you burnt out but the daily deluge of Trump news and nonsense?" He said “writers from both sides of the aisle” have recently weighed in on the concept of “Trump fatigue.”
Stelter’s guest for the segment, Slate Senior Editor Dahlia Lithwick, definitely had a severe case of “Trump fatigue.” Lithwick talked about how “we’re getting physically ill, we’re exhausted, we’re not sleeping, everybody’s drinking too much.” Who's “we” in this? They can’t imagine that not “everybody” is fatigued.
Stelter shifted focus to another one of Lithwick’s articles titled “Let’s Compare Donald Trump’s Week to the Impeachment Articles Brought Against Nixon, Clinton, and Johnson.” According to Stelter, the article talked about how “we’re experiencing on a daily or weekly basis stories that could be impeachable.”
Apparently agreeing with Lithwick’s analysis, Stelter asked her “why is that message not getting through to people?” Lithwick did not really address impeachment in her answer, instead talking about how “we’re getting physically ill, we’re exhausted, we’re not sleeping, everybody’s drinking too much.” Perhaps by “we,” Lithwick actually means herself.
Lithwick complained that “I think we’re going numb” where “people are starting to say maybe I don’t care or maybe I don’t trust the news and those are really catastrophically bad outcomes.” Maybe the American people don’t trust the news because they have gotten numb to Lithwick and others in the media calling for impeachment 24/7.
When pressed by Stelter as to what she would “tell folks about avoiding being numb,” Lithwick suggested that “journalists have some responsibility to cover this as though it’s more than a reality show” and to “try to help people understand that the situation today is exponentially worse than when they showed up at the airports after the first travel ban was put into effect.” Laughably, Lithwick also claimed that “our job in the press is to just be morally serious” after bringing up the completely unserious idea of impeachment.
Throughout part of the segment, the chyron at the bottom of the screen asked “Are Trump’s Offenses Getting a Free Pass?” While these “offenses” might aggravate those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, they do not come close to justifying the launch of impeachment proceedings.
The anti-Trump media have made it clear they will continue to push the narrative that President Trump makes the American public “physically ill.” They have failed to consider the possibility that it’s liberal media bias that makes the American people “physically ill.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Sunday’s edition of Reliable Sources is below. Click “expand” to read more.
BRIAN STELTER: Are you exhausted? Are you burnt out by the daily deluge of Trump news and nonsense? If so, you are not alone. Writers from both sides of the aisle have been commenting on this lately. Take a look here. Frank Bruni writing “Donald Trump Has Worn Us All Out,” Dave Ignatius talking about “Trump fatigue,” Jim Geraghty saying “Even Trump’s Supporters Are Getting Tired of the Daily Drama,” and Rich Lowry of Politico wondering, is Trump fatigue going to “Bite Him in 2020?” Let’s talk about this with another writer who weighed in on this recently, Slate Magazine’s Dahlia Lithwick. Her piece was titled “The Demoralizing Reality of Life Under Trump.” Dahlia, you say, you know, this is an insane time. Why? Why do you think this summer’s been especially hard?
DAHLIA LITHWICK: Well, I think everything you’ve talked about today, Brian, it’s accelerating. Things that used to be, you know, one shocking thing a week, now there’s seven a day and we’re just sort of like squirrel, squirrel, squirrel trying to keep track and I think people are wiped out.
STELTER: Wiped out?
LITHWICK: Yeah. I mean I…
STELTER: So now we’re at Labor Day. Now we’re heading into a new season. And…and you say in one of your pieces for Slate that we’re experiencing on a daily or weekly basis stories that could be impeachable. You looked at the articles of impeachment for…for Nixon, for Clinton, for Johnson, and you said wait, this is happening every week. So why is that message maybe not getting through to people?
LITHWICK: Well, I think it’s just again what Jeff Goldberg just called the circus atmosphere. And I think, you know, one of the things I wrote about is not just that we’re getting physically ill, we’re exhausted, we’re not sleeping, everybody’s drinking too much, but that I think we’re going numb and that’s the real fear is that people are starting to say maybe I don’t care or maybe I don’t trust the news. And those are really catastrophically bad outcomes if that’s where we arrive.
STELTER: But what do you tell folks about avoiding being numb? What is the…what is the way to avoid that?
LITHWICK: Well, I think we as journalists have some responsibility to cover this as though it’s more than a reality show, more than WWF. And I think if we continue to just tell the truth, tell the facts, point out the lies when there are lies, and try to help people understand that the situation today is exponentially worse than when they showed up at the airports after the first travel ban was put into effect; it’s so much worse and yet we are so tired. I think our job in the press is to just be morally serious. Do our jobs, tell the truth, and hope people will stick along for the ride.
STELTER: Right. And do that every day. And…and I’m short on time but I wanted to point out another piece for Slate that I highly recommend. People can Google it. It’s about the limits of journalism. You say we’re asking journalism to do too much. Can you just tell me that brief argument?
LITHWICK: Brian, essentially, what I’m saying is that we all got mad a few weeks ago when Jane Mayer’s piece in The New Yorker came down trying to understand what had happened in the Al Franken dust-up and that the real point of the piece, I think should have been, we needed a due process. We needed an actual hearing in the Senate. We needed to have actual findings of facts, witnesses, subpoenas, all of it, and that journalism litigating #MeToo is just substituting for actual systems that should be doing it in the first instance.
STELTER: The same issue with Jeffrey Epstein, right? The Miami Herald and Julie K. Brown there did incredible work but it’s not…it doesn’t replace the need for prosecutors. And of course, now there…now there are prosecutors newly involved, and now some of those victims were able to speak in court this week, but the reporting itself you’re saying doesn’t…doesn’t fill in for the need for authorities to investigate.
LITHWICK: I…I think reporting is doing an amazing gap-filling job and I credit all of it, especially…
LITHWICK: …in the Epstein case.
LITHWICK: It is not in and of itself a determinative due process.
STELTER: Right, an important perspective. Two years now since the Harvey Weinstein investigations. Dahlia, thank you so much.