Dear People Magazine: Please stop pretending the Trump presidency is normal

Dear People Magazine: Please stop pretending that the Trump presidency is normal

Image: Douliery Olivier/Sipa USA for AP

Donald Trump, the KKK-endorsed candidate who rose to power promising to deport millions of Americans, purge the media and sue the women who accused him of sexual assault, will be America’s president in January. And People Magazine thinks that makes just an adorable cover story.

Yesterday, People Magazine published a shiny, happy photo of Donald Trump on their cover, and shared it with a predictably glib tweet announcing that he was “hired!” (Yes, there was an exclamation point). For the readers of People Magazine, the appointment of self-identified sexual predator, who helped to bring white nationalism into the mainstream, looked normal, expected, part of our smooth democratic process, a moment worth celebrating, nothing to worry about. 

Of course, it’s very possible that People Magazine didn’t want to send that message. After all, this was the often-maligned publication that brought a groundbreaking story into the mainstream in October, when one of their writers, Natasha Stoynoff, came forward alleging that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her. Their editorial director, Jess Cagle, came forward in support of such a “remarkable, ethical, honest, and patriotic woman” and wrote that the magazine “stand steadfastly by her, and are proud to publish her clear, credible account of what happened.”

The magazine best known for their explosive coverage of Brangelina’s breakup explored what a real tragedy looks like, then stood by their story.

Which makes their subsequent cover feels all the more apathetic and dissociated. People and other mainstream media organizations are simply not designed to cover politics, especially politics with blatant fascist undertones. And whatever their actual political orientations are, they are going to have to grapple with how to properly handle the next (at least) four years of history. 

It’s a real challenge for organizations best used to deciding what dress Michelle Obama looks best in, or the most appropriate pet for the president. How could they — or any mainstream media organization, actually — possibly argue which fluffy fear pup is better for Melania’s allergies, as millions of immigrants flee this country, whether by force or preemptively, out of fear?

Here’s a way not to do it: by publishing an article called “27 Photos of Ivanka Trump and Her Family That Are Way Too Cute,” which they did yesterday.

“Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and their children Arabella, Joseph, and Theodore have the adorable Instagram thing down pat,” the magazine wrote.

And the content kept coming:

And coming:

And coming:

Magazines like People, even more so than traditional news outlets like The New York Times, have a unique opportunity to access readers otherwise disaffected by or disengaged from the political process. That doesn’t mean they have to publish Trump’s tax returns or do an in-depth analysis of his administration’s trade plans, but they have to do something. And something better than this.

BONUS: This woman just became one of the most important players in the Senate

from Mashable!