What if something like CNN and modern communications were around in early 1945? What if the rules of presidential news coverage were then as they are now? And what if such a mythical CNN hated Franklin Delano Roosevelt as much as it despises Donald Trump, then as right-wing as it is now hard left? How would the daily news in a mythical 1945 treat a now-iconic FDR? What would the country have thought of its president?

In the manner that we’ve learned that Donald Trump supposedly eats double servings of fast food and gulps down a dozen diet sodas a day, we instead might hear similar CNN “exclusives” about presidential diet and health, either from “unknown” sources in the White House or “fake news” exaggerations of rumor and innuendo.

Wolf Blitzer might give us a news bulletin something like this: “CNN in an exclusive report has learned that President Roosevelt is a sick, maybe dying, man. But the true nature of his health has long been covered up, most notably in last year’s election and is even now more dishonesty hidden. CNN has learned that the conspiracy of silence among the president’s family, his staff, and his doctors is long-standing, scandalous—and, in this reporter’s view, dangerous.”

“Sources tell me that the president’s blood pressure routinely hits 240 over 140. He has lost 40 pounds. Some sources tell CNN that the president suffers from chronic sinus and urinary infections. He may be battling skin cancer. CNN is now learning that the president could never walk or even stand up on his own.”

“That image of a robust president was also inaccurate—the fiction of collusion that for years has hidden the true extent of the president’s paralysis from the American people. CNN has also learned that President Roosevelt has been absent from the White House for weeks at a time and has been too ill to work at his desk. Yet he continues to chain smoke and drink a series of stiff drinks each evening, a habit dating back to Prohibition before he was president.” Read more →