Ever since he announced he was running for president, it's been basically impossible to get away from Donald Trump. 

Some people hate that. Others love it. Almost nobody's indifferent. 

But today has even more Trumpian ubiquity than most other days--even by the president's standards.

The reason? The Wireless Emergency Alert system test that the government set up for 2:18 p.m. Eastern. If you're reading this early, or if you didn't get it for some reason, here's the text:

Presidential Alert
THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed. 

That's it, kind of like an Amber alert or a weather warning, no big deal on its face. But it's set to go to every single cell phone that's turned on at the time and that has a United States phone number.

And it will be followed two minutes later by an interruption on ever television and radio show with a similar message--basically very close to the emergency broadcast system messages that they test every month or so, and that you've probably seen since you were watching kids' T.V. shows.

Anyway, the whole thing today has its roots int the Communications Act of 1934, which FEMA says:

"established the authority for the President to use certain private sector communications systems for priority communications, such as sending alert and warning messages to the public, during national emergencies."

It's the text part of this that has some people a little freaked out. Granted, the text doesn't say it's coming from President Trump, per se, just that it's a "presidential alert." 

And the plan was actually put in motion in 2012, when you might recall somebody else was president. You can imagine scenarios in which it might actually be very useful for the president to be able to send a message to almost all U.S. citizens; perhaps if God forbid we ever had another national emergency on the scale of September 11, 2001 of course.

Step back from whether you support President Trump or not. If we're going to have this kind of system, it makes very good sense to at least test it before using it.

As I wrote at the time, thank God it happened on a weekend, otherwise you can imagine the worldwide panic that might have spread.

So sure, Trump has completely dominated the media for more than three years at least, ever since he first announced he was running for president back in June 2015. We're getting a little bit more of that today. 

And tomorrow we can all just return to checking his Twitter feed.

Published on: Oct 3, 2018
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