It’s World Press Freedom Day! According to the UN, today is an opportunity to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom” and reflect on the “media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.” So as we celebrate all the important work journalists are doing in the US, under an administration that is increasingly hostile to the media, let’s reflect on one of the worst practices in journalism today: calling the president a Cheeto.
Presumably, bloggers and comedians get a kick out of likening Trump to the orange cheese snack because of his affinity for fake tanning. The issue isn’t only that this has become the predominant way to insult the president, but moreover, that it’s everywhere.
As VICE senior politics editor Harry Cheadle pointed out earlier today, the First Amendment is one of the things that makes this country great. The fact that we can post a video of the president motorboating Rudy Giuliani’s tits or call him a snack food without fear of retribution should not be taken for granted. But with that power comes responsibility, and perpetuating the easiest and most overused descriptor of the commander-in-chief isn’t living up to that responsibility.
To be clear, I don’t mind making fun of Trump’s physical appearance—after all, he certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem with mocking the way others look—but I do mind lazy writing. There are better ways to roast him. So let the press be free, but also, let’s all do better. Let’s retire the Cheeto insult and challenge ourselves to truly stretch our imaginations, to dig further down into the well of insults for one of the most insultable men on the planet and see what we can find. There are plenty of presidential owns still waiting to be slung, and others long forgotten waiting to be resurfaced. For a start, here’s one:
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