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The conceit is simple: “American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.”  (Making the series even more salient today, the second installment back in 2013 was about the end of Michael Bloomberg’s mayoralty: “If It Happened There: Twilight of an Oligarch.” Maybe, maybe not.)

In addition to spoofing the ways and manners of American correspondents abroad, the series also indirectly mocks the too-close-to-it earnestness, caution, and dependence on euphemism that mark domestic political reporters. It’s a two-fer that slays in both directions.

We struggle at TPM with the language choices, too. We don’t have collectively have the vocabulary or the willingness to deploy it to capture what we’re witnessing with Trump.

So what would the headlines be if this were happening abroad, especially in Africa or South America?

Have at it in the TPM tip line (talk at talkingpointsmemo dot com).

About The Author


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.