One of the bigger challenges of journalism is that sometimes you have to write about people and things you’d rather not cover, or disagree with. Hollywood may like to portray those employed in the profession as doggedly determined mavericks always following their instincts and values, but the truth is sometimes you have to cover — accurately, of course — someone you despise.
Now, few would confuse Salon with an old-school news organization “speaking truth to power” at this crucial moment in history other than those already working at Salon.
Well, maybe the site’s latest stunt will remove the blinders from even their own employees:
This will be a short break, a one-day experiment: June 27 will be Trump-Free Tuesday here on Salon.
We’ve been thinking about this for a while, and it seems like the right moment. There are so many other things to talk about and think about, in politics, culture or our daily lives. We are stuck with this guy for the foreseeable future, which is a difficult truth for many of us to handle. If we cannot dislodge him from the White House anytime soon, maybe we can start to deflate the outsized role he plays in our national psychology. This is a baby step in that direction.
How will Trump-Free Tuesday work? We have established some rules for ourselves — which we are prepared to break under certain circumstances we have tried to define in advance. (Those circumstances seem unlikely. But who knows what counts as likely anymore?)
We will not publish the president’s name on Tuesday or use his picture. We will not cover his outrageous Twitter utterances or deride his surrogates for whatever stupid things they may or may not say on television. (We try not to do that the rest of the time, too.) We’re certainly going to cover American politics and the United States government, but we will avoid focusing on the dominant personality at the top of the pyramid. We will strive to focus on issues and policies and how they are likely to affect the lives of our readers.
In other words, they’re going to convince people that the president of the United States of America has a small role in the direction of the country just by pretending.
It’s funny because, for eight years, most of us were sick of the constant fawning over Barack Obama we saw from places like Salon and their ilk. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Someone they dislike is dominating the new cycle, so they’re looking to not even mention the duly elected president of the United States.
They claim it’s because people are sick of hearing about him, but that’s ridiculous. Salon knows they won’t have any impact on what people see and hear about today. This is virtue-signaling masquerading as populism.
After all, I have little doubt that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be subjected to the scrutiny that Trump has been, and I’m not a particular fan of the sitting president. Salon, however, is taking their hatred of Trump to a ridiculous place. They’ve given up even the pretense of journalism by refusing to acknowledge that someone they dislike is president, even if only for a day.