Pardon me for a moment, because I would like us to pause for a second and think about the &%^ @#$ %*&^@#$ 2018 edition of the White House correspondents' dinner.
Wait a minute. What's the religion-news angle of this story?
Well, on one level there isn't one. However, I'd be willing to bet the farm (that's a common expression out here in flyover country) that the moral, cultural and religious views of people who laughed at what happened last night are completely different than those of people who were appalled by it.
Please note that I did not say "political" views. This really wasn't about politics. It was about culture.
Look, Donald Trump was and is a target-rich environment for lots of valid reasons. Anyone who has read GetReligion at all during the past 24 months or so knows that I was 100 percent #AntiTrump (and #AntiHillary too) and I still am. I think that Trump was unqualified to be president and, if evidence gained through testimony under oath (as opposed to waves of ink from anonymous sources) led to his impeachment, I would think that was a sobering, but positive, event for our nation.
This disaster in the public square was not about Trump. Play close attention to the nasty, personal attacks last night on several key members of this administration and their families -- in some cases because of their religious beliefs.
Again, this is not political for me. I am mad and sad today because this hellish event (a) helped Trump with his most loyal fans, (b) did further damage to American public discourse (obviously the Tweeter In Chief deserves blame too) and, most of all, (c) undercut efforts to defend journalism's First Amendment role in American life among news consumers in zip codes inside the two coasts. As a journalist, I am furious.
With all that in mind, let's turn to a new Axios bullet-list think piece by D.C. scribe Mike Allen, focusing on the #WHCD disaster. The headline:
Media hands Trump big, embarrassing win.
Amen, I say.