“Everybody say ‘SEND NUDES!’”
Let’s get something out of the way right up front. When a reporter takes words that come out of an interview subject’s mouth and puts them into print without specifically reaching out to every single reader to make sure they’re clear on the intent of those words, that is not “fake news.” Fake news would be a headline like “Batboy Pregnant With Tupac And Elvis’ Twins On Secret Island” or “The Superficial Writers Land Three Picture Deal.” It’s not the job of journalists to create a favorable or unfavorable image of the people they report on. So when Arnold Schwarzenegger jokingly threatens to smash the President’s face into a table, that is fucking newsworthy. Here’s the exact exchange that was published in Men’s Journal:
In between, other things happened. Notably, Schwarzenegger announced that he could not vote for Trump and instructed other Republicans to “choose your country over your party.” After the tweet about Schwarzenegger’s opening-night ratings, it was clear that Trump had not forgotten the slight.
“I said, ‘Let’s sit on it for an hour,’ ” Schwarzenegger says, blowing on his gruel. But then he had an idea. “I called my assistant and said, ‘I think what we really should do is request a meeting and go back to New York.’ ” He pauses for maximum impact. “And then we just smash his face into the table.”
Schwarzenegger’s laugh fills the cafe like a small nuclear explosion. He rubs his massive hands together. “And then I think we can’t do that, either. I think I have to be above all of that and put him on the spot.” He wound up tweeting a reply: “There’s nothing more important than the people’s work. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”
I’m pretty sure the part about his laugh sounding like a bomb going off fully covers the joking aspect of this whole thing, and yet, Arnold still felt the need to cry to Variety about it like some kind of… girly man? (I know where the door is, thanks.)
“Writers want to create sensationalistic things and blow things up,” said Schwarzenegger, who was California’s governor from 2003 to 2011. He even called it “fake news” to report the story without noting that he was explaining his thought process “in a joking way.”
What in the actual fuck do journalists need to do at this point to not get saddled with this Frank Luntz linguistic fuckery? The fact that every Trump headline isn’t “Are You People Fucking Seeing This?” is already a testimony to the extraordinary restraint the press has shown. Not to mention, this whole Trump v Schwarzenegger over goddamn TV ratings thing is the moral equivalent (See what I did there?) of two frat guys arguing over who butt-chugged more beers last night. The point is Arnold chose diplomacy in a battle against a tyrant while simultaneously tossing red meat to the dummies who cast their vote via bumper sticker slogans. I’m all out of metaphors for this circle jerk, so I’m peacing out on a GIF of how all of this should have been handled in the first place.