The news is generally reported piecemeal with a focus on what just happened or the specifics of one story.
The result is that the cumulative effect often escapes detection.
Journalism tends to describe the fragments and not the pattern they make up – which for readers can be like watching a movie shot entirely in closeups.
So it is with the travails of Donald J Trump.
He is in so many kinds of legal hot water and the explosive new stories tend to erase the earlier ones from view – just as his own transgressions tend to overshadow his earlier misconduct.
Who talks of how grotesquely he groveled before Vladimir Putin and denied his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions in the long-ago far-away world of July 2018 when so much has happened since?
Who remembers the abrupt firing of the FBI director James Comey in the ancient days of May 2017 when the abrupt firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on 7 November is so fresh?
If you look at all his legal troubles together you see someone who is both reckless and lawless – which we knew – and perhaps in more trouble than has been noted.
You might add to that list obscenely stupid – since he often seems to be the only one who believes his own lies and since he and his children don’t seem to grasp that the scamming and cheating that got them through the dirty world of New York City real estate doesn’t work as well on the global stage.
The current head of the federal government – the person who is supposed to somehow embody the rule of law – is in violation of a host of little laws and some major constitutional ones.
USA Today reported in June 2016 that Trump and his businesses ‘have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades.
Just since he announced his candidacy a year ago – at least 70 new cases have been filed – about evenly divided between lawsuits filed by him and his companies and those filed against them.
And the records review found at least 50 civil lawsuits remain open even as he moves toward claiming the nomination’.
The paper charted 1,450 cases in which he or his businesses were defendants along with his bankruptcies and mentioned the Trump University fraud lawsuit – which he eventually settled for $25m – finalized quietly this April.
Our president steals from poor people: that’s what that lawsuit is about.
He has lived his life in a world without consequences – his father’s money smoothed the way for a life in which he made messes and others cleaned them up.
He appears to be one of those people who was so rarely told that what he was saying was wrong – boorish or inane that he has no sense of how he’s perceived or what people are thinking or often, how things work.
Feedback is what steers most of us straight and power and privilege mean that you can avoid it if you want.
When you’re a star they let you do stupid things and he has done so many.