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John Alston
The Trump Card: An Analysis
Jenna Johnson and Mary Jordans article (2015) is about a black protester being assaulted
in a rally and the racial implications that this brings in Trumps run for president. Johnson and
Jordan connect Trumps remark about the protester to his statements on national security,
immigration, as well as attempt to contrast Trump with Sanders.
This is an article that should be explored blow by blow, from all possible angles. The article
begins by stating a moment of violence to a black protester. It then goes on to explain Trumps
involvement in the removal of the protester and states the protesters motivation as well as
exploring Donalds view of how hecklers should be treated. It later references the criticism of
Trump and his handling of race issues, while exploring his rhetoric against Muslims as well as
the reaction of his base against protestors.
The questions that must be asked about this article are these: Was this article written with an
ideology in mind? Or were the authors reaching a logical conclusion for the tone of the article
based on the evidence gathered against Trump and his supporters?
To explore these inquiries, one must look at the sources of the paper.
One is the AL (Alabama) local news site (Robinson, 2015). The AL website interviews
Mercutio Southall Jr. on his participation in the rally as a protester. Using the SMELL test by
former journalist John Mcmanus, regarding the legitimacy of the source, motivation, evidence,
overall logic, and elements that were left out (Mcmanus, 2012, p 149-180), there seems to be
only one side of the story being reported here. Since obviously the protester would have a
motive to make his opposition look as racist as possible, one might wonder if his account were
exaggerated or maybe even fabricated. This is where the evidence comes to play. The video,
captured by CNNs Jeremy Diamond (2015), shows Southall being swarmed by a white mob,
with Trump shouting to get him out of here. Whether he wanted the protester forcefully
removed by the crowd or gently escorted by police is unclear, though the timing is damnatory.
I find it hard to see footage of actual punches and kicks occurring, but it is clear that
Southall is cowering with fear, and there is definitely an atmosphere of aggression there. This
fits into the logic of the situation. Is it really a stretch that older-right wing white people in the
deep South might harbor some pent up racial tension against those of another set of skin color,
culture, and beliefs of a political and religious nature?
What is definitely left out of the AL article is the points of view of those who attended the
rally. Adding these points of view, no matter how extremist or incorrect, would only boost the
credibility of the AL piece from a journalistic perspective.
Other than the video, and Southall interview from AL magazine, the only major source for most
of the article is Trump himself. His comments range from selected passages from his speech, to
media interviews, and are often outlandish, even inflammatory (Maybe he should have been
roughed up), though they arent always directly related to the tension against Southall. The

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implied causal link to the heated behavior of some of Trumps audience to his speeches against
supposed Muslim reactions supporting 9/11 seems to reflect the framing of Trump as a racial
anarchist. The national news coverage of a protester getting attacked reflects the agenda-setting
power of the media, and overpowers anything that was actually said in the rally. In terms of
objectivity (which is said by McManus to be an ultimately false ideal), the lack of comments
from peaceful rally participants dictates that either there was a lack of access towards those
people, or they were intentionally left out, perhaps, to paint the picture of Trump supporters as an
angry mob.
In terms of the characteristics of news, this was chosen for its involvement with a
prominent figurehead, emotional conflict, and potential political impact. If this protester was
peacefully removed with no comments from Trump, it may not have made national news.
Additionally, this overall article would most definitely be classified as dramatized news. The
heightened emotions generated by the video and interview is clearly done to make Southall seem
like a hero taking on white supremacists, even if the language of the commentary itself is done in
a detached manner.
In conclusion, Johnson and Jordan create a vivid news narrative, even if it attempts to
establish a causal link that may not be there. Whether that is ethical or not all depends on the
transparency of the authors in terms of their own beliefs and biases. Being that they do not
disclose their own political beliefs in the article, one must wonder why one chooses to keep the
spotlight on controversial statements from Trump while at the same time ignoring the fact that
the man is basically heckling a political rally. Could it be that Trump was just mad that the
protestor was interrupting his speech, barring any type of racial prejudice? This question is never
answered, because the article seems intent on showing Trump as a catalyst for prejudiced
bullying and violence. It seems that appearances rule over the exploration of human
intentionality. In this case, anyway.

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Works Cited
Diamond, J. (2015, November 21). Protester kicked out of Trump Rally- CNN Video. Retrieved
November 22, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2015/11/21/altercation-trumprally-nat-vo.cnn

Johnson, J., & Jordan, M. (2015, November 22). Trump on Rally Protestor. Retrieved November
22, 2015, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/11/22/blackactivist-punched-at-donald-trump-rally-in-birmingham/

McManus, J. (2012). The SMELL Test (Chapter 8). In Detecting Bull (2d ed.). Sunnyvale, CA:
Unvarnished Press.

Robinson, C. (2015, November 21). Black protester attacked at Donald Trump Rally. Retrieved
November 22, 2015, from
http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/11/black_protester_attacked_at_do.html