It doesn't get better.
With the latest episode of #LaueringTheBar in which our media has once again failed to do its most basic job, it is now officially time to put the myth of the liberal media to bed once and for all. Matt Lauer's gutless performance this past Wednesday at the Commander-in-Chief forum was only the latest in a string of episodes where our media has failed to challenge Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump for fear of hurting his wittle feelings. While the major networks have consistently given Trump $2 billion of free airtime, even alleged "liberal" networks like MSNBC have shred any kind of perceived bias by not only giving Trump his own personal Town Hall but also by having Trump cheerleader Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski offer Trump softball questions on live TV. Combine all this with the fact that the Trump campaign refuses to participate in interviews with Rachel Maddow, who would be one of the few journalists with enough integrity to actually challenge Donald Trump, and what we have is a candidate who will seemingly go unchallenged all the way to Election Day.
And that is a problem.
It is a problem because the role of media is to present the truth, even if the truth hurts a particular individual. When Donald Trump is allowed to lie about his support for the Iraq War for over a year and he still is allowed to continue this lie, that is a problem. That is a problem because people rely on our media to present factual information. If we are comparing two presidential candidates and determining which one is more qualified to be commander-in-chief, it is damn well important to ask one of them why he is insisting upon something that simply isn't true. That speaks to the candidate's character, his judgment, his ethics, and his morality. Do the American people want someone in the Oval Office who lies about his past? Someone who shifts his views only after popular opinion has changed? Someone who refuses to acknowledge his support for a war even though his support is clearly documented? These are all valid questions that the American people need answered.
But these answers won't come. Not in the Age of Trump, where interviewers refuse to challenge a presidential candidate for fearing of losing him and the advertising dollars that come with him. Sure, the man lies 70% of the time, but people tune in to watch him which is the important part. As Chuck Todd famously said, it's not the media's job to fact-check certain claims being made by political candidates. Because when you fact-check candidates, they get upset. Rather than man up and admit their mistake, these candidates often double down on their assertions. If they still receive pushback then they can simply claim that their interviewer/interviewer's network is clearly biased against them and refuse to do future interviews. When that happens, the interviewer gets an earful from his/her boss as to how terrible it now will be with that candidate no longer appearing on the network. Because no candidate wants to go on a show where they know they will be consistently challenged but to go on to a friendly network with softball questions, no pushback, and free airtime is a opportunity that simply cannot be passed up.
But we here at TPV have no advertisers to answer to. We have no multi-million dollar CEO checking the company's stock price every hour. What we have here is a public forum to raise issues and awareness that our media simply doesn't have the guts to do. And so it is with that in mind that we are able to ask the questions that our media refuses to. Below are 10 questions that Donald Trump can and should be asked from now until November. Our media won't ask him, so it is up to us, the individuals to do so. Because we know how much is at stake in this election and it's time to stop cozying up to an authoritarian fascist simply because we don't want to make him feel bad. This election is real with real consequences for millions of people. People's lives and livelihoods are at stake, and people need answers, not incoherent babbling, from Donald Trump on a number of key issues. There are still thousands upon thousands of undecided voters and they need to hear the truth, not lies, about the Republican nominee for president. So with this in mind, we've composed a mock interview for Donald Trump on a range of issues. We've cited his actual statements when applicable. We also will call him Donald rather than Mr. Trump because unlike his employees, we are not in a subservient role to him. Many questions contain follow-up questions based on how Donald Trump would initially respond. All of these questions are rooted in a longstanding desire to learn the truth about Donald Trump, a truth that our media simply refuses to seek out. These are questions that any legitimate presidential candidate should answer and yet Donald Trump has been given a free pass on.
That stops now.
Question 1: Making America Great Again
Donald, the overarching theme of your campaign has been to make America Great Again. The "again" implies that America was previously great and now this is no longer the case. At what point in time was America at its greatest? Which groups benefited most from this greatness and which groups, if any, did not benefit? In addition, Ronald Reagan also used the slogan, "Make America Great Again" in his 1980 campaign. Did he fail in making America great? If yes, why? If not, why then do we now, thirty-six years later, have to once again restore our country's greatness. What specifically happened over this time period that caused America to lose its greatness? And how can you assure the people that a Republican candidate for president won't be offering to make America great again thirty-six years from now?
Question 2: Hillary Clinton's Character
Donald, you've consistently referred to your opponent as "Crooked Hillary." Yet in 2005, you invited her and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, to your third wedding and in 2012 you said she did a "terrific" job as Secretary of State. At what point then, did Hillary Clinton become "crooked"? Has she been crooked all her life? If so, why would you invite someone like that to your wedding? Has she been crooked since 2012? If so, what specific event led to her becoming crooked?
Question 3: Your Treatment of African-Americans
Donald, you've said that African-Americans should support you because they have "nothing to lose." Yet, in the 1973 you were sued for discriminatory housing practices by the Department of Justice in New York and eventually settled the case. Your current support levels among African-Americans are at historic lows and you refused to initially condemn David Duke and the KKK before finally doing so. The question, Donald, is if you claim African-Americans have nothing to lose under your leadership as president, why have they already lost so much under your leadership as a businessman? Why should they trust someone who selected a White nationalist as a delegate in California? And why should they support someone who recently said the country's first African-American president was much weaker than Russian president Vladimir Putin?
Question 4: Vladimir Putin
Speaking of Vladimir Putin, Donald, you've consistently made clear your admiration for Russia's president, despite calls from even your supporters like Bill O'Reilly to stop doing so. You've even gone so far as to ask him to intervene in our election by hacking into Hillary Clinton's emails and releasing them to the public. The question Donald is, as president, how do you see the relationship between Russia and the United States evolving? Would you intervene if Russia attempted to annex additional parts of the Ukraine? What sanctions, if any, would you place on Russia for allegedly hacking two American voter databases? And, if the United States removes itself from NATO as you have proposed doing, what power, if any, would we have to ensure that Russia acts accordingly on a global scale?
Question 5: The Company You Keep
Donald, in addition to your admiration of Vladimir Putin you've also had your former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, knowingly do business with pro-Russian groups in the Ukraine, including the alleged participation involving secret payments to the groups. The question, Donald, is that you've recently criticized Hillary Clinton for having "bad judgment" with Anthony Weiner having been married to her top aide, Huma Abedin. What does it say about your judgment to have your campaign manager allegedly being involved in attempting to undermine Ukrainian politics on behalf of Russia? Do you support his efforts on behalf of these pro-Russian groups? If so, why? If not, why would you allow someone engaging in alleged international acts to work so closely with your campaign? Is this the kind of person you would hire to join your presidential cabinet? How can the American people be assured you won't hire other dubious people to work closely with you in the White House?
Question 6: Your Personal Use of Undocumented Immigrants
Donald, we all know your thoughts on Mexican immigrants. You've made immigration a central theme of your campaign and you've vowed to create an enhanced border wall to stem the tide of illegal immigration across our southern border. The question, Donald, is what should be the penalty for employers who knowingly use undocumented immigrants as a source of cheap labor? As someone who paid a $1 million fine for using 200 undocumented Polish workers to help build Trump Tower in 1980, do you feel this penalty was sufficient? Can you swear that you are not currently employing any undocumented immigrants at any of your building projects here in the United States? What system do your current contractors have in place to ensure this isn't happening? What penalty would you personally impose if you found out a contractor had hired undocumented immigrants for one of your projects?
Question 7: Bringing Jobs Back to America
Donald, you've stated that countries like China are involved in currency manipulation, making it an attractive location for American companies to ship overseas jobs to. You yourself have your own clothing line made in places like China and Bangladesh. Yet, you've also run a campaign built upon making sure American companies create and maintain jobs here in the United States. As a goodwill gesture to the American people, would you personally move those jobs back to the United States to create American jobs right here at home? If yes, how soon would you be able to do so? If not, why? As a businessman, is it more important to create jobs here in the United States or to maximize profit?
Question 8: Gaming The System
Donald, at your speech at the RNC Convention, you said that nobody knows the system better than you and that you alone can fix it. As someone whose companies have declared bankruptcy six times, and who has personally used eminent domain to take land, and has personally refused to relax his tax returns claiming that you are being audited, you seem to have come across various techniques for acquiring and maintaining wealth that simply aren't available to the vast majority of American working families. So, Donald, how do you plan on fixing this system that you have benefited from tremendously? What rules are regulations would you put in place to assure that not everyone is doing what you're doing? And, if elected president, what would you have your sons do to ensure that your business follows whatever new regulations you might put in place for big businesses?
Question 9: The Role of the Media
Donald, you've had some strong opinions on the media throughout this campaign. When Megyn Kelly brought up your previous statements on women during an August Republican debate, you responding by attacking her. When Univision's Jorge Ramos questioned your statement on Mexican immigrants that same month, you had him forcibly removed from a press conference. You've created a "blacklist" of media outlets that your campaign has banned from events. The question, Donald, is how will you respond to media outlets who ask you a challenging question as part of the White House press corps? Will you revoke that organization's press credentials? Will you attack that particular reporter? As president, shouldn't you be able to handle any question from any news outlet without resorting to verbal attacks or censorship?
Question 10: The Power of Hate
Lastly, Donald, throughout this campaign you've said many incendiary and inflammatory statements based off of extreme right wing and White nationalist rhetoric and talking points. You've refused to apologize for any of these statements, including ones that have denigrated and demeaned immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, African-Americans, women, and veterans. The question, Donald, is do you actually believe everything you've said about these groups? Do you actually believe that all Mexican immigrants are rapists? Do you actually believe that thousands of Muslim-American citizens cheered when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11? Do you actually believe that 81% of White homicide victims are killed by African-Americans? Do you actually believe that pregnant women are an inconvenience to their employers? And do you actually believe that an an increasing number of women in the armed services is the chief cause of rape and sexual assault in the military?
Because all of these things have been proven false. So if you believe them, then you're simply ignoring reality and the American people are well within their right to question your sanity. If you don't believe them, you're simply manipulating the American people to try and earn their vote. You're playing into a series of stereotypes, deeply rooted in White nationalism and White supremacy that paints all non-White males as inherently inferior. So, which is it, Donald? Are you someone who is clinically insane, that honestly cannot differentiate fact from fiction and is so entrenched is his own narcissism that he simply cannot admit or recognize that what he is saying is simply not the truth? Or are you someone who knows what he is saying is complete and utter bullshit and simply does so to rile up his own personal basket of deplorables who agree with your White supremacist and authoritarian views but have not been able to find a candidate willing to say the things to put "those people" back in their place? This is the question you need to answer and is the one the American people demand to know.
The clock is ticking...