In a dazzling burst of media myopia, the Kansas City Star headlined the AP article it ran on Sunday night’s Tony Awards, “A theme of tolerance, inclusion at this year’s Tony Awards.”
Those who watched the Tony’s, or those who followed its most newsworthy moment trending wildly on Twitter, knew, however, that the evening’s defining moment subverted even the most generous definition of the word “tolerance.”
Here are some headlines from other media considerably more honest than the one the Star chose to run.
“Robert De Niro’s Trump comments at Tony Awards go viral.” CNN
“Robert De Niro Throws F-Bombs at Trump during Tony Awards.” Fox News
“Robert De Niro’s ‘F*** Trump speech at Tony Awards.” Guardian News
Or, more honest still, this one from an online media publication, “Robert De Niro Gets Rapturous Standing Ovation at Tony’s After Declaring ‘F*ck Trump!’”
If the final one is the most honest, it is also the most dispiriting. From appearances it seems every single person in that New York City auditorium gave De Niro a standing ovation for saying, “First, I wanna say, ‘f**k Trump.’ It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump,’ it’s ‘f**k Trump.'”
The AP article the Star ran does not mention De Niro’s speech until the eighth paragraph and phrases the incident thusly, ” [De Niro] began by launching an expletive at the president, pumping his arms for emphasis.” The reporter notes, “Many in the audience stood and cheered.” No, everyone within range of the cameras stood and cheered.
On the so-called “tolerance” front, much of the evening’s piety revolved around LGBT needs. Andrew Garfield, who won best actor for his role in a play about AIDS, began by mocking the Christian baker in Colorado spared financial ruin by the Supreme Court and ended with Garfield calling for a “spirit that says no to bigotry, no to shame, no to exclusion.”
One wonders whether the people in that theater have any idea how their standing O for De Niro rubs the half of America that voted for Donald Trump. Do they have any idea how little good their gleeful denunciation of a president engaged in crucial negotiations abroad does for tolerance, for Broadway or the LGBT cause? Do they have any idea how much good their hateful, hypocritical pleadings do for Republican chances in November?
They must not.