Sharpie Brain

Many years ago, shortly after we had repainted our home’s interior and installed a few, new pieces of white furniture, my two-year old daughter came downstairs with nearly every inch of her body covered in black Sharpie. Our immediate panic was quickly justified as my wife and I went from room to room to survey the damage. As I processed the toddler-graffitied scene, I muttered many words to describe my daughter’s behavior. None of those words was Presidential. Of course, at that time I had no idea of how that job (or the job of amateur TV meteorologist) would evolve. While the use of a Sharpie, the clinging to a wildly false weather report about Alabama, and the Category Five twitter insanity that followed have provided a few new twists, this week’s hurricane of false information had a familiar target: The media. And, amazingly, the attacks, no matter how ridiculous, continue to be effective. The New Yorker’s John Cassidy on this week’s presidential obsession. Sharpiegate and Donald Trump’s Perpetual Cone of Uncertainty. “Even if we accept that alarming Alabama residents about Hurricane Dorian’s path was one of Trump’s lesser sins, in the scheme of things, Trump’s angry reaction to being called out on it highlighted something more consequential: the extent to which the President’s attacks on the press have expanded and intensified … In a Hill-Harris survey released in July, pollsters asked, ‘Which comes closer to your point of view: The news media is the enemy of the people, or the news media is an important part of democracy?’ Fifty-one per cent of Republican respondents chose the first wording.” (It turns out that using a toothbrush and toothpaste is a pretty good way to erase Sharpie marks from walls and furniture. Sadly, it’s not going to be so easy to clean up this other mess.)

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