Charles Blow, taking sides in the debate about which to cover:
Some have suggested that we in the media should focus a bit less on [the president's] lies … and focus more on policies, particularly the ineptitude of the gathering cabinet and the raft of executive orders that Trump himself is signing.
But I take the position that this is all worthy of coverage, that there are simply different kinds of news being unearthed about this administration that exist on different strata….
Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science.
I'm with Blow on this. In fact to me it would seem a journalistic and, more than that, political dereliction to minimize Trump's eccentric lies and correspondingly depraved behavior in favor of maximizing coverage of cabinet appointments, executive orders, congressional relations and the like — topics that most voters simply don't follow. That is no doubt unfortunate, but it's also a democratic reality, one unlikely to change anytime soon among a population in which only 36 percent can name the three branches of government.
Being human, what they do tend to follow are others' depravities and eccentricities. True, Trump was every bit as abnormal during the campaign season, but since virtually nobody thought he would win, his troubling peculiarities and yawning pathologies were dismissed by much of the public as little more than an amusing sideshow. Now he flies on Air Force One, watches TV in the White House Chauncey Gardnerlike, bizarrely tweets his early mornings away, and possesses the nuclear codes. His freakishness is no longer amusing.
It is however what can capture the mass electorate's horrified attention, far more than Rex Tillerson's oil deals with Putin or sanctuary city directives or gag orders issued to federal agencies. In this instance, at least, the democratic beast should be fed what the beast will consume.
None of this is to argue that covering gag orders is unimportant. It's not. And they are being covered. But dark administrative memos won't change any minds. Trump's assorted abnormalities and above all his atrocious lies — covered as relentlessly as they're issued — might.