"The truth is that a crisis as large and complex as the one we are facing can’t help but expose massive flaws in the shouting that passes for thinking across the media landscape -- left, right and center."
A few years back, USA Today ran a thoughtful piece right around St. Patrick’s Day reminding its nationwide readers why beer, and rivers in Chicago, run green on March 17.
“Green was the symbol of Irish independence and wearing it could put one in harms' way. The phrase ‘the wearing of the green’ originates from a song with the verse ‘they are hanging men and women for the wearing of the green.’ That's how green became so powerfully associated with the Irish people.”
A fine reminder of Ireland’s revolutionary tradition, to help wash down your corned beef and cabbage.
The proud Irish American writer of the piece had previously been nominated for an Emmy for a CBS TV documentary about New Orleans’ struggle to emerge from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.
So, who might this correspondent be, telling stories of the downtrodden across the centuries and the globe?
None other than Patricia Ann “Trish” Regan, last seen on the Fox Business Channel, arguing that the true victim of the coronavirus is so obviously President Trump because his enemies were exploiting the crisis just to be mean to him.
"The chorus of hate being leveled at the President is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him, and only him, for a virus that originated halfway around the world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president,” Regan said on one of her broadcasts.
We’ve reached a tipping point. The chorus of hate being leveled at #PresidentTrump is nearing a crescendo as #Dems blame him—and only him—for #coronavirus - a #virus that originated halfway around the world! This is yet another attempt to #impeach THE PRESIDENT. #TrishRegan pic.twitter.com/nU3P4zcONA— Trish Regan (@trish_regan) March 10, 2020
In the days that followed, Fox Business and Regan “parted ways,” according to published reports. Which begs the question: What exactly did Regan do that was so different from, you know, most of the other talking heads and flapping mouths across the Trump-loving media landscape?
And yet it’s far too easy to simply bash Regan and other conservative opportunists. The truth is that a crisis as large and complex as the one we are facing can’t help but expose massive flaws in the shouting that passes for thinking across the media landscape -- left, right and center.
First of all, no matter what the catastrophe, there is always a market for “provocative.” Right after 9/11, some on the left simply could not resist smugly proving they were smarter than everyone else, and pointing out that this was an inevitable result of America’s desire to bully the world.
Now, we have the Trumpies idiotically treating coronavirus like trans fats or plastic straws, the latest fashionable fear of the granola set in LA and Brooklyn.
Of course, the president hasn’t helped himself by clinging to a bizarre fantasy that the arrival of the Easter Bunny on April 12 will magically Make America Spend Again.
But liberals should be careful what they wish for. Take the virus seriously? As is...stay inside? Practice social distancing?
Well, what is a better social distancer than strong borders? Tall walls?
Anti-Trumpers swing between befuddlement and rage as the president’s approval ratings hover at the 50 percent mark. But just as Regan blindly defends Trump, others blindly dismiss his supporters as clueless bumpkins who are willfully, gleefully ignoring the obvious peril of this virus.
Maybe. But there’s another possibility.
Maybe Fox News nation actually is looking at the very same facts as MSNBC nation.
Here’s what they are seeing: Densely populated, coastal cities (for now) hit much harder than middle-American small towns. They are seeing that this virus originated abroad (“halfway around the world,” as Regan put it) and was likely made worse by a globalized economy whose elite actually encourages people -- affluent CEOs as well as desperate migrant laborers -- to zoom into and out of countries, even continents, quite easily.
None of which is likely to protect Trump nation in the coming weeks. But you can accuse such folks of many things. Just don’t expect your speaking truth to power to change their minds.
Because they’ve got their own truth, thank you very much: If we’d just put “America First” and built a wall back on November 8, 2016...
(Contact “Sidewalks” at tdeignan.blogspot.com)