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Why are Journalists so Humorless?

A Commentary By Brian C. Joondeph

Monday, December 02, 2019

Are humor and satire taught in journalism school? Apparently not, as President Donald Trump continues to reveal how media magpies are completely devoid of humor. They are the epitome of “Bah Humbug” from Ebenezer Scrooge in the upcoming Christmas season.

President Trump uses humor frequently, in his rallies and in his tweets.

Both the rallies and tweets are entertaining and Trump’s way of connecting with average people using a normal human emotion, in comparison to the constipated mainstream media which does nothing but criticize, condemn, and complain. Which of the two approaches is more endearing to listeners, humor or whining?

Trump has a stressful job as he copes with two of many recent difficult events, a special forces raid killing ISIS chief al-Baghdadi, and the ongoing Democratic efforts at impeachment. Trump uses humor to punch back against his persecutors and critics as a very reasonable response to constant condemnation.

The first example was Trump’s tweet from October 30, 2019, after the successful al-Baghdadi raid, a photo of himself placing a medal around the neck of “American Hero” Conan, the dog instrumental in the successful operation.

Anyone with a room-temperature IQ will know that the photo is a photoshopped image. Several days after the successful raid the injured dog was still in the Middle East somewhere, not in the Oval Office. The medal is actually a paw print.

The image is a humorous way of honoring the canine hero of the raid and the success of the raid in general. Nothing more. Yet the media takes President Trump literally, missing the entire point of the tweet. Their response was predictable. They were oblivious to the tweet’s humor.

The New York Times told readers, “Trump tweets faked photo of hero dog getting a medal.” No kidding. From USA Today, Trump tweets altered image of himself giving medal to American hero dog wounded in al-Baghdadi raid.” Thanks for telling readers it was altered, otherwise no one would know.

The Hill jumped in with, “Trump tweets edited image of dog from al-Baghdadi raid receiving Medal of Honor.” It wasn’t an actual Medal of Honor but instead a paw print. In their outrage, they missed that minor detail.  Business Insider chronicled some of the humorless Twitter reactions, including several intrepid journalists actually contacting the White House to see of this supposed Medal of Honor event was on that day’s schedule.

It’s a joke, guys and gals in the media. How can you not see that? Apparently, the only thing modern journalists find funny is Kathy Griffin holding a severed head of President Trump. Imagine how today’s journalists would react if “All in the Family,” “The Honeymooners,” or “The Three Stooges’ were popular comedies today?

The humorless media should be used to Trump’s sense of humor. Two years ago, he tweeted a video of him wrestling CNN to the ground. It was a metaphor of his early press conferences, when CNN’s peacock-in-chief Jim Acosta would rudely interrupt and challenge the President, eventually earning his network the moniker “Fake News CNN.”

Millions of Trump supporters laughed, but CNN blew a gasket, complaining to their miniscule audience, “Trump wrestling beatdown video is no joke.” Actually, that is exactly what it was, but when you wear glasses tinted with “Orange Man Bad,” everything you see is orange.

This week, instead of being thankful for a strong and prosperous America, the media is once again demonstrating their lack of humor. In his Florida rally this past week, President Trump told an amusing account of how the media reported his visit to Walter Reed Medical Center on a Sunday to take advantage of some free time and get a portion of his annual physical, normally in January, out of the way.

Despite the media proclaiming that Trump suffered a heart attack, chest pains, or some other undisclosed illness, Trump managed to return to the White House shortly after his “heart attack” and give a rally a few days later. Quite the recovery. Did the media ever speculate or analyze in such detail the health of someone who did have a heart attack -- Bernie Sanders -- or the failing health of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

In his rally, Trump joked about his physical exam, bragging about his “gorgeous chest.” He followed up the next day with a tweet of his head photoshopped on the body of fictional boxer Rocky Balboa. Again, a humorous footnote to his rally and a poke at the media, which Trump knows will go into outrage overdrive over the image.

The humorless Washington Post, believing its readers might actually believe that a 70-year-old Donald Trump has the body of a 25-year-old prizefighter, tweeted a somber reminder to readers that the photo isn’t real. They tweeted, “Trump tweets doctored photo of his head on Sylvester Stallone’s body, unclear why.”

The Independent, also bothered by Trump’s tweet, ran this headline, “Trump posts bizarre shirtless image of his head on Rocky’s body.” Mediaite chronicled media responses which obviously missed the joke and Trump’s skill at effectively trolling the humorless media.

Is President Trump a doddering old man, drunk on power, wandering the halls of the White House, talking to photos of ex-Presidents, as the media likes to portray him? Or is he a vigorous man, thoroughly comfortable in his own skin, confident in his positions and agenda for the country?

Are the “walls closing in” on him as the media proclaims on a daily basis after every leak or bit of conjecture from Adam Schiff and his partisan band of stooges? Or is Trump two steps ahead of his detractors, laying traps and letting the storm play out on his terms, enjoying every second of being president?

President Trump is masterfully connecting with average people who enjoy a laugh, those not so caught up in their self-importance that they are unable to laugh at either themselves or the world around them. Which is why the President’s popularity remains at around 50 percent, per Rasmussen, despite the nonstop negativity directed at him from the mainstream media.

Trump is not the first to recognize the benefits of humor. Mark Twain said, “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” And Charlie Chaplin reminded us, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Life is tough enough for the media, having unsuccessfully attempted to overturn the results of the 2016 election for over three years now without success. Trump has their number and enjoys pushing their buttons. At least they should be able to laugh about it. Unless they can’t.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver-based physician, freelance writer and occasional radio talk show host whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.

See Other Political Commentaries.

See Other Commentaries by Brian C. Joondeph.

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