A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Opinion

My perspective: Trump is killing satire

One of Trump’s main bragging points as president is how many jobs he has created; he never mentions all the jobs he is taking away from journalists who write satire. 

By September, Business Insider reported that 7,200 people working in media lost their jobs this year. Business Insider also reported that only 5,000 media jobs were cut from 2014 to 2017. Trump was inaugurated in 2017. 

The report didn’t say the jobs were taken from satirical writers, but it also didn’t say they weren’t. 

At a Republican fundraising dinner in March, Trump said “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations: Your house just went down 75% in value. And they say the noise causes cancer.”

Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, did a segment about Trump’s war with windmills. In the skit, Noah played a video of Trump’s speech. In the speech, Trump claimed with wind energy you wouldn’t be able to watch TV on windless nights and then said, “I know a lot about wind.”

Noah’s response: “What? What the f*** does that mean.” How can one exaggerate something already so outlandish? Trump’s comments already sound like a joke. 

In August, Trump started tweeting about his interest in buying Greenland from the Danes. 

The former prime minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmusen, tweeted “Must be an April Fool’s Day joke… but totally out of season!” Many news sites had to clarify that Trump wasn’t joking. He seriously thought he could buy Greenland. 

People are already confused on whether the president is joking, so how can a satirist address this?

Well, satirists barely got the chance before member of the Danish Parliament, Ida Auken, tweeted “Mr President – Greenland is not for sale. But Denmark has a much better deal for you!” Along with a video about how windmills don’t cause cancer and could save Trump money. 

On October 3, The Onion posted an article titled “‘Please Guide Me In My Darkest Hour Lord,’ Prays Trump Kneeling Before Portrait Of Himself.” Considering all the things Trump has said, that doesn’t seem too unrealistic. 

How can writers at The Onion keep their jobs if the real news is just as crazy as what they come up with?

On December 6 at the White House, Trump hosted a small business roundtable to discuss the administration’s accomplishments and future plans. 

Afterwards, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a humor site, uploaded a transcript of the meeting in which Trump said things like, “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once,” and “You have many states where they have so much water that it comes down — it’s called rain. They don’t know what to do with it.” There was nothing added. It was just the transcript. 

At the same roundtable, Trump also said “We’re here to talk to some of the very hardworking citizens who are benefiting from our historic record-setting campaign to eliminate job-killing regulations.”

He doesn’t realize his words are taking away jobs. 

Although Trump is a big satire-killer, other politicians are also contributing. Recently, Twitter had the header “Former Vice President Joe Biden calls a man a ‘damn liar’ before challenging him to a push-up contest.” This wasn’t a satirical news story, but it’s just as ridiculous. 

Satire can be hard to distinguish from other news, and Trump is mostly to blame. 

Trump will have to find something new to brag about. I can only imagine how many more jobs he will destroy during his presidency. 

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