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Beyond 100 days

  • Published at 06:41 pm July 25th, 2018
The US president leaves both friends and foes gasping
The US president leaves both friends and foes gasping REUTERS

Trump does things differently 

It’s not unusual that media platforms at times do declare a bias towards an “ism” or campaign platform. 

Given how that is more prevalent in print than broadcast journalism including specific stands on issues is something more traditional than anything else. 

At the end of the day, the fine line between certain sides on issues or policies emerges quite starkly in the choice of commentators or program panelists. That most broadcast platforms don’t specifically say so, but take sides anyway, is now becoming a tradition of sorts.

That’s where the BBC differs. Its North America broadcast, that most viewers in the United States can’t see anyway, comes with the tag “Beyond 100 Days,” symbolizing the period that Mr Donald Trump has been in power. 

Prior to that, it was simply named “100 Days.” In doing so, the network clearly identifies a stance opposite to that of Trump’s criticism and most reports, though being fairly balanced in reporting, is inclined towards highlighting the opposite side of the divide’s views. 

The channel’s strong opposition to Brexit has been made manifest in many ways, leading a large portion of Britain’s citizens inclined to declare that BBC is anti-Brexit. 

In a pluralistic democratic society, such tags are unwarranted and dangerous. Reflecting opinion rather than shaping it is what should be happening. Between pointing out line by line what Trump is or isn’t doing correctly labours a point that is by now well-known. Trump does things differently. 

The chief proponent of the term “fake news” is erratic and tends to deal from the palms of his hands, leaving friends and foes alike gasping, and his administration scrambling to explain -- most of the time, not convincingly enough. 

It has seen heavy criticism from American legislators, including outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan, on what were comments disparaging to the US intelligence agencies and a threat of Americans being sent over for Russian grilling, that have put Trump on the back foot and doing extensive damage control. 

And though he has retracted on his belief that Vladimir Putin’s denials have contributed to his “not having belief in Russia’s meddling in the US’s presidential elections,” the damage control has been exacerbated by Vladimir Putin suggesting that there were forces in the US that sought to set the two countries on course for conflict.

There seems to be a general consensus that in his one-on-one discussion with Putin, Donald Trump has made certain commitments. These are the ones everyone wants access to. 

Theresa May laughed as she disclosed what suggestion Trump had made with regards to the way forward on Brexit. Trump has not yielded, and barring some fanciful events, is unlikely to do so. The idea of getting the translator to appear before Congress violates the secrecy of the president’s office but appears to be a direction which Democrats are likely to pursue. 

As of now, it seems that a trade-off between Trump inviting Putin to the White House and the translator being on the dock is a likelihood. Agenda-free summits between heads of governments are few and far between, and that too between the two most powerful countries of the world. This is business beyond business. It’s politics.

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.