One of the best things the mainstream media could do to improve the political climate is to grow a sense of humor. We saw a great deal of consternation about “manipulated media” last week when Donald Trump shared a video of Joe Biden dancing to the rap song “F*** Tha Police,” prompting Facebook and Twitter to “fact check” the video and warn it is “manipulated media.” .
No, the video is not “manipulated.” It is parody. It is satire. Parody and satire are not “lies” and are not meant to deceive the reader. If that were the case, we would have to fact check every Saturday Night Live skit going back to 1975. There is no need to issue a “warning” about the video and provide “context” of Biden listening to a different song. Everyone knows it is a joke.
Nonetheless, Facebook gave me a “warning” before I posted shared the Tweet and threatened to reduce the reach of my page, even though I explicitly said in my post that the video is parody and not meant to be taken as real. Facebook then provided related articles that were “needed” to provide “context” to a post where I explicitly stated the video is a parody. Twitter went further, banning the user who originally posted the video, because we cannot have parody and satire on Twitter.
Now, is this a good joke? No. Should the President of these United States be sharing meme videos with vulgar language on Twitter? NO!! He absolutely should not do that. It demeans the office of the President. Donald Trump never did “grow into” the office or treat it with the gravity it deserves. He never will.
Had the President’s critics focused on that – the decorum needed from the Oval Office, and how it demeans the office to share obscene meme videos, that would have been reasonable. In fact, I agree with that. Instead, they complained bitterly about “fake news” and “manipulated” media, which is absurd. It was never presented as real. But Trump can always count on his enemies bypassing reasonable criticism and base their attacks on him on a premise that is clearly false. Please chill out. This hysteria is getting really old.
Previously: The death of parody and satire