Contrary to the whining of Jake Tapper at CNN, last week’s press conference was not a distraction from his governance but an essential component of it. He recognizes that his agenda can only move forward if the people tune out the media’s distortions of it. Were Trump to take the media’s advice, he couldn’t govern. The more he neutralizes the media, the more successful he will be.
Mr. Trump is an unusual president in that, unlike any we can think of, he speaks only for himself. There is no army of Trump interest groups and loyalists and activists to respond to his command or suggestion. He does not have deep knowledge of policy, government or politics. He does not have longtime organizational ties.
After last week's Trump press conference, the press bristled at charges from the new president that they are selling fake news — and immediately goes out and proves his point. Just when you thought Washington couldn’t get any weirder.
Contrary to what Senator McCain said about dictatorship starting by suppressing a free press, it is not hard to see parallels between today’s free, but highly politicized establishment elite media, and the media in Germany that helped the Nazis take power.
Chic Trump hatred and sick talks of coups — or worse — hinge on economic growth. If Trump’s agenda hits 3 percent GDP growth or above by 2018, then his critics — progressive shock troops, Democratic grandees, mainstream media, Never Trump Republicans — will either shift strategies or face prolonged irrelevance. But for now, ending Trump one way or another is apparently the tortured pathway his critics are taking to exit their self-created labyrinth of irrelevance.
Trump is serving notice that he, and not the media, sets the nation’s agenda. And that when journalists behave like opponents, he will treat them like opponents, punching back harder than they punch him.
Limbaugh claimed the media have a "blueprint for destroying" Republicans they disagree with, but they won't take Trump down. "He doesn't fit that mold. They're trying to every day. It's kind of comical to watch," he said referring to the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS and NBC, among others.
The press in general believes and acts as if they are a protected class. But this leads to them behaving like bulls at a corrida, rushing around everywhere, attacking every possible target until the matador arrives, focusing their attention. Yes, Trump gives them plenty of possible targets -- more than he should and doubtless would like to. But this obscures the larger issues on which he is so often right and in sync with the public. And on this day, he was able to play the press like a picador, banderillero, and matador all rolled into one.
Why does President Trump’s adversarial relationship with the establishment media seem to help him sell himself and his agenda? What could be better than getting your enemies in the media to provide you with a live broadcast documenting your beatdown of them.
Over the last eight years, the press was never interested in making trouble for Obama. Instead, it projected the opposite. He was "scandal-free." If he had trouble, it didn't come from a rough press conference. It emerged from evil Republicans who were plotting.
If members of the press really want to start with a clean slate, they need to come forward and admit that they're biased and that they openly colluded, as we have pointed out many times, with the Clinton campaign. If reporters do their job fairly, there shouldn't be any problems. If not, people from the Trump administration clearly stand ready to call them out and set the record straight.
Reporters, columnists, talk radio blabbers, and even the elite media in Washington and New York think Trump is obligated to deal with them pretty much on their terms. Trump doesn't agree. The notion of catering to them has never crossed his mind. And probably never will.
In 2001, Dan Rather called Bill Clinton an “honest man,” adding bizarrely, “Who has among us have not lied about somebody? I think at the core he’s an honest person… I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things.” Don’t expect him to extend that standard to Trump. In Rather’s ludicrous lecture to (the WSJ's Gerard) Baker, one can hear the death rattle of a complacent media that disguises its partisan judgment as “truth.”
To refrain from labeling leaders’ statements as lies is to support an unrelenting but not omniscient press, one that trusts readers’ judgments rather than presenting judgments to them. If we routinely make these kinds of judgments, readers would start to see our inevitably selective use of a moral censure as partisanship. We must not only be objective. We must be seen to be objective to continue to earn our readers’ trust.
At various points in 2016, the press predicted that it was either Trump's "last chance" to save himself, or it was his opponents' "last chance" to stop him. But each time, he overcame those pitfalls and prompted reports of yet another "last chance" for the unconventional candidate.
Liberal news outlets are keeping their readers in the dark about two aggressive appointments to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights made by President Obama with just weeks remaining in his presidency. In addition to questions surrounding the appointees themselves, the move by Obama effectively blocks President-elect Donald Trump from any appointments to the eight-person commission until 2020.
The news that got Trump elected wasn't made-up stories pushed by Twitter trolls, it was the stories Americans knew were true that the mainstream media and DC Establishment declared fake and refused to report.
The university and the media share two traits: Both industries have become arrogant and ignorant. We have created a climate, ethically and professionally, in which extremism has bred extremism, and bias is seen not as proof of journalistic and academic corruption, but of political purity. The recent election, and especially its aftermath, embarrassed journalists and academics alike — and should not be forgotten.
“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” So said Winston Churchill, the grandmaster of fake news.
The press continues to push the storyline that Trump’s coming administration is causing the great and good of the world to tremble, a claim to which the American people rightly shrug, especially since many of these international luminaries appalled by Trump’s inauguration will soon turn up at Castro’s funeral.