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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Are Trump’s tweets really killing his agenda?

They probably wouldn’t admit it but it seems like the media gets bored awful easily.

Most people would believe just the opposite as a fresh crop of events and happenings each day should make journalists’ jobs fascinating and self-propelling. Just like every baseball game is different so too is the political Trump Tweetdrama coming out of Washington on a daily basis, with original controversies and petty fights to report on without even having to search very hard.

Nevertheless, the media effortlessly picks up and drops subjects when they run their course. For example, when conservatives Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway joined Donald Trump’s campaign last summer they each received an impressive amount of coverage. And when Trump pulled off his unanticipated victory in November, both Bannon and Conway became virtual A-list celebrities complete with their own impersonators on Saturday night live and tabloid paparazzi.

But now that the public’s grown tired of endless accounts of Bannon and Conway’s workings in the Trump administration the two have virtually vanished from the media wires. I’m sure they’re glad for it.

Not so President Trump’s tweets. Every time the commander in chief picks up his phone and types out a new message the media goes bonkers trying to size up their angle for the latest presidential utterance.

The vast majority of the commentary is negative, of course. If the media talkers actually favored Trump or his policies it wouldn’t jell well with the portion of the news consuming public that demands non-stop sensationalist scandal and intrigue.

But lately the media’s focus on Trump’s tweets has noticeably increased. Perhaps it’s because the president has stepped up his remarks on controversy generating topics like the travel ban from war-torn countries and the becoming all-too-common European terror attacks; or maybe it’s just due to the journalists’ boredom with other topics.

At any rate, the media’s outrage over Trump’s favorite personal habit is only getting worse. It shouldn’t necessarily be that way, writes Bill Murray at Real Clear Politics. “[T]he Fourth Estate’s knee-jerk opposition to Trump does a disservice to the electorate…

“Most of Trump’s tweets, especially this sort, should not be reported as breaking news. As Michael Barone, the longtime co-editor of The Almanac of American Politics and senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, points out, ‘Early on, he [Trump] realized that by sending out a tweet early in the morning, that was very provocative, very in violation of political correctness, he could dominate an entire news cycle.’ What’s more, Trump knew he could feed the media’s ‘addiction’ to anything remotely resembling ‘breaking news,’ all to his benefit.

“This failure of U.S. broadcast media to use proper news judgment in covering Trump is among the gravest professional sins the industry has committed in recent memory because it fails to recognize the manipulation involved. George Lakoff, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, asserts that Trump’s tactics are ‘all strategic’ in nature, ‘not crazy,’ as many observers believe.”

That’s just it. The media depicts Trump as an emotionally triggered buffoon constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown but in reality the wise politician knows precisely what he’s doing every time he sends out a message. As someone who’s mastered the art of media manipulation through his four decades in the public eye I’m guessing there are very few things Trump does or says that qualifies as off-the-cuff, spontaneous or not pre-planned.

Teenagers may hurriedly react to the latest provocative post from their friends on Instagram and get themselves in trouble with hasty retorts. Not Trump. I’d bet he soaks in the news and carefully considers how to respond each time; after all, sending a Tweet is something that can be accomplished quickly but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s done haphazardly. For all we know Trump takes several minutes – or longer -- thinking about precisely what he wants to say.

It’s the media that automatically assumes Trump just flies off the handle typing red-faced and in a hurry like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. It’s a caricature that doesn’t fit Trump’s public persona. They probably don’t have a clue what he’s really like.

And it’s not as though the media isn’t constantly craving more input from the president or other high-profile political figures. Obama didn’t tweet or hold many interviews or news conferences and the media griped about lack of access. Similarly, Hillary Clinton went over nine months without holding a press conference. Democrats routinely hide from the prying press and nobody seems to take special note.

But now they’ve got a president who gives them plenty of feedback but controls his own message and they hate it. In observing the media’s relentless objections to the controversial nature of Trump’s tweets it often reminds me of the guy in the movie “Step Brothers” who begged to get punched in the face yet complained afterwards about the injury he sustained.

That’s not to say a good many conservatives haven’t pleaded with Trump to tone it down online. Kellyanne Conway’s husband did so the other day. Others qualify their critique. Charles Hurt wrote in the Washington Times, “Though I am a tremendous fan of the president tweeting, and I wish he would tweet more, frankly, I do wish that when it comes to legal matters, he would, as they say, cease and desist.

“Someone last week on the endless cable blabberfest had it about right. When it comes to things like this — especially when Twitter is involved — Mr. Trump instantly grabs a grenade and pulls the pin.

“And then he throws the pin.”

No doubt the grenade pin throwing is attributable to Trump’s desire to control the news cycle as Murray hinted at above, but Hurt is also correct: at some point there’s a line to cross where the tweets actually hurt Trump’s cause rather than help it. In his piece, Hurt discussed Trump’s travel ban being held up in the courts by Democrat-appointed partisan judges who ignore constitutional authority and decree by their own fiat.

It’s all true, yet Trump hasn’t helped his case by providing fodder for the jurists’ twisted rationales in ruling against him. The media is already hard at work trying to turn public opinion away from the president; judges therefore experience little compulsion to adhere to the law instead of deciding based on how they might feel on a political issue at any given time.

Needless to say the Democrats have weaponized Trump’s tweets against him in every manner possible. With a host of important legislative issues on the docket in the next couple months, it might be time for Trump to consider scaling the tweeting back.

The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote earlier this week, “The problem with these tweets isn't that they irritate his enemies but that they empower them. Trump's tweeting isn't always harmful, but it often is. And his best moments, when you think back over his presidency, come when he sticks to his script. He thinks he is good at winging it because he won the presidency doing so. But that was campaigning, and this is governing, which is a very different thing. It's past time for the president to understand this.

“The question he needs to answer for himself is whether he is more in love with blasting off his thoughts to the world in utterly ungoverned fashion or actually succeeding in getting his agenda on to the statute books of the nation.”

It’s a delicate balance to be sure. Certainly no president has ever before felt so compelled to communicate directly with the public but then again no president has ever had the tools at his disposal that Trump does.

And certainly there’s never been a president who came in from outside the swamp so determined to do things his way based on a successful career in private sector business and entertainment. Many a Hollywood movie has spoofed the presidency as being little more than an elaborate theater production but with Trump we’re well past the dress rehearsal stage and getting into real performances complete with a worldwide audience and antagonistic critics in the seats watching his every move.

It’s completely understandable why Trump seeks to bypass the media and speak unfiltered with the voters by tweeting. Such an ambition is not only necessary, it’s noble. Trump certainly can’t trust the media to report on him fairly, yet it’s also evident that some sort of a balance needs to be struck where he’s no longer hurting himself and his agenda 140 characters (or less) at a time.

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Trump Tweets

I think that the idea behind Trump's tweets is multi-fold. He is not hurting himself at all. Those who think so are listening to the BS that the media puts out.

In the one case a writer commented that he likes that Trump does this, but on legal matters, stop. OK. That is a valid viewpoint although I think that they are totally wrong to say that. They do not know what he is doing or they would be up there with him. Believe me, he knows better what he is doing than you or I.

His tweets always serve a purpose, but they serve at 5 ft at 5000 ft and at 50000 ft - they are very measured and are designed to get the information that he needs from those from whom the tweets elicit a response. The leftist press is not able to understand that and a certain number of people won't either, but in the long run he is far ahead of these jerks and those who pay attention understand what he is doing just sometimes not why? Sometimes there might appear to be collateral damage, but for the most part he gains more than he loses - in his mind that is much more important than whether or not we understand what he was after.

The Tweetosphere, What's Not To Like?

Trump's tweets are getting lots of play. Trump is an impetuous New Yorker, with an active mouth. However, he is a patriot which cancels all imperfections for an outspoken president. After 8 years of having a traitor in the White House, and a serial liar, Obama, it is like heaven having someone who embraces the USA with openness and love. I could not care less about Trump's tweets. I care more about the morons in Congress thwarting his agenda. They are true intellectual junk-think groupies, who should be sent home one by one and replaced by veterans, or another group which can think straight. As for the media? Hopeless. Disgusting. As for Obama's plants throughout the Deep State? Dangerous and must be rooted out like rats hiding in the basement. Trump is fine. WE simply do not understand the overriding value of patriotism anymore, to our enormous discredit. Trump, in 8 years, should reawaken all that has been dulled by the treachery and abject nature of the Left Wing racist slime among us.

Re: The Tweetosphere, What's not to Like?

Right on. The crap that is going on is simply disgusting. But I think Trump has a good set of reasons for each tweet he makes. In every case he will be proved to be right in his assessment - even if it looks bad now.