The Mainstream Media Needs Another Trump: The Georgia Congresswoman is the New Monster of Choice

Image attributed to Greg Fallin

As someone who studied journalism in college as part of my English major, and who was a journalist for a time (mostly the entertainment beat, so nothing weighty), I love the news. And I believe the so-called mainstream media, often decried, usually gets the story right. After all, the big media outlets attract the best and the brightest, and those journalists want to be seen as good at their jobs. Occasional mistakes? Of course. But not to be equated with the bizarre QAnon-type conspiracy theories put out by bloggers and vloggers with barely any serious journalist credentials whatsoever.

I also recognize that the news media has been making scads of money in the last five years of the Trump candidacy and presidency. Every day was more “breaking news”. One could barely keep track of every scandal and insult and corruption, never mind remember which offense was worst.

And so, as much as intelligent journalists breathed a sigh of relief when Trump finally left office, there was an immediate need for a new bogeyman. Horror equals ratings.

They seem to have found her in that QAnon-spouting Congresswoman from Georgia. And while they are telling the truth about her views (I mean, she’s made her hatred known on camera and in her social media), by giving so much oxygen to what may have been a dying ember of Trumpism, the news media may have unwittingly (or purposely?) kept the rightwing nutcase movement alive.

Also, both Saturday Night Live and ubiquitous YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow skewered her this week. She is already a star.

The 30% of Americans who would gladly vote for her don’t care about her specific policy positions or her pedigree or her education. They like a famous person who hears them, who spouts the nonsense in their heads. That’s a part of why Trump was elected.

Now the woman, barely a month into her term, is famous across the country and has a platform. Even if they strip her of committee posts, she has a voice. Even if she loses on the next election cycle in 2022, she will have enough fame to launch a run for the Presidency in 2024, if she so chooses. We have learned that government experience doesn’t matter (in fact, it’s deemed a detriment) to a third of the voters.

She would not win a national election, but if she siphons enough votes from the Republican candidate, or wins even one state or two, she will have furthered the white supremacist movement.

After much criticism and her removal from committees last week, she defended herself on the House floor and some spineless Republicans even applauded her. She went to the usual “these comments were from the past” (not that far back at all, actually) and that she was confused by all the media and couldn’t discern truth from falsehood. Of course, this was just another big lie, but she’s not that stupid. She is, in fact, a quick learner. Rather than stick to her awful principles, she immediately covered her ass, because she has learned that staying in politics is a moneymaker and a power builder.

Lest we forget, the media gave oxygen to Trump early in the primaries in 2015 and 2016, because of his outrageous statements. His challengers were often asked about Trump’s comments before they were asked about their policy positions. The fame that came from all that exposure certainly contributed to his unlikely rise to the Presidency.

After he became President, I applaud the mainstream media for holding him accountable for his every outrage. He was President at that point; he deserved the scrutiny.

But the media must be careful about its complicity in promoting the celebrity of a freshman Congresswoman from one little district in Georgia. The ratings may rise, but the country does not need another monster.

I am an author, freelance writer, and singer/songwriter. I split my time between Brooklyn, NY and my native Massachusetts. I teach at City College of New York.