I’m a little late to the party on this one, but not by much. Trump’s veep was booed by the audience and lectured by the cast of the wildly popular Broadway show Hamilton. Why Pence was at a Broadway show about how awesome immigrants and minorities are is unclear. And Trump, naturally, had something to tweet about it, demanding that the cast apologize.
Now, I find this a little chilling. Having a private citizen, even an actor, publicly say something to an elected official is kind of the point of the 1st Amendment. Granted, it talks about other stuff too. For whatever reason like four rights are rolled into one amendment, but that’s neither here nor there. The 1st Amendment does not say you have the right to keep your job if you say something, or you have the right to say whatever you want without consequence. It says the federal government can’t do anything to stop you from saying whatever you want, and it’s easy to believe the framers had this type of situation in mind when they wrote it. So having the head of the executive branch of the government demand an apology from a private citizen based simply on a public statement is worrying, but all he did was tweet. It isn’t like he threatened legal action, or demanded his followers boycott the show, or actually did anything. Tweets aren’t that big a deal. But they are really easy to write news stories about.
While Trump was busy tweeting about Broadway he was also busy settling a court case that he stated, many times, that he would go to trial for, because it was an easy win. Some people have pointed out that the timing is very suspicious. Is it possible that Trump tweeted out his attack on free speech in order to distract from his breaking his campaign promise? Sure, anything is possible, but I doubt it. First off, I don’t think he cares who knows he’s already broken a campaign promise. He technically won. His behavior hasn’t been of someone that’s contrite at losing the popular vote by historic margins. His behavior is of someone that will do whatever he wants, ethics be damned. No, this is more a failure on the media’s part. Talking about a feud between the president-elect and his many, many detractors is easy. A tweet fits nicely as a graphic on talk shows. You can explain the basics in a few seconds between celebrity interviews and ads for penis pills. Talking about a court case where Trump misled customers, then lied abut misleading them, is way harder. It takes time to explain the basics, give an idea of who is involved and what’s at stake. Way easier to talk about a guy tweeting.
Trump isn’t keeping the feud alive in order to distract from his many other failings. The media is because it’s way easier than talking about his other failings. Why the media is failing in this regard is the subject of a much longer piece, but don’t put this one on Trump.