Most of you have heard about it by now.
I was taking time off when it happened. A good buddy of mine suggested putting some thoughts on it in this space. (Thanks, Jim)
In discussions about immigration to the United State, President Donald Trump is reported by the Washington Post to have said this in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries:
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
One line. One thought. One question. One HUGE topic of discussion.
For us in the media world…this proved to be a great dilemma.
We have always practiced this rule..whether written or unwritten: NEVER edit comments that are directly attributable to the President of the United States.
That means every “um”, every “uh” every coughing fit and pregnant pause stays in if encased in an important presidential quote. But does that..and should that..include foul language?
With I’m sure a great deal of thought given to potential Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fines, here’s how the networks handled it..according to the Washington Post which broke the story.
NBC and its cable outlet MSNBC used the word..spoken on the air (after a disclaimer) and in graphics. CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta did as well..although many of that cable network’s anchors opted for the watered-down “S-hole”. CNN also used the unedited word in its on-screen graphics. ABC and CBS opted to use “blank” instead of the ‘S–t” part of the word. Fox News used an asterisk to replace the first vowel in the expletive. However..one Fox host on one of the network’s panel shows was quoted as interpreting it this way:
“If it’s true, this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar. This is how Trump relates to people. If you’re at a bar, and you’re from Wisconsin, and you’re thinking, ‘They’re bringing in a bunch of Haiti people, or El Salvadorans, or people from Niger.’ This is how some people talk.”
That may be true…but the President of the United States is not at “a bar”.
The President of the United States is not one of “the forgotten men and women in America”.
The President is on the world stage, and should carry himself as being so.
This is all evidence that…one year into it…we are witnessing a presidency unlike no other. You really didn’t need me to tell you that.
If it looks that way to us, imagine how wide the eyes of the world must be right now.
The President was also reported to have asked why can’t we have more people come here from places like Norway.
Maybe this episode…is why they’re staying home.