I admit, I’m a real fan of President Trump’s tweets.
It’s an uncensored, uninhibited and direct way for him to react and communicate “his take” on daily events. Even though his lawyers may cringe and wish he wouldn’t tweet, it has changed — forever — the “natural order of things” in Washington D.C., a city forever in love with itself.
More importantly, Mr. Trump’s tweets give us a near real-time view of things bypassing the heretofore exclusive filter and political spin of the New York and Washington media.
And, they hate him for it.
Why? It’s simple really: He had the audacity to compete with them and has essentially said: “You say that you are reporters but you’re really in show business. And, because I’ve also been in show business, I know exactly what you’re up to and we’ll see who wins at it.”
In the process, he has brought down their credibility — to the point that they are less popular than the Congress, if you can imagine it.
They show their hate for him every day — in most every newspaper and on most every TV network. And they’re increasingly vicious — cheap shot after cheap shot. They can’t help themselves.
Ironically — their clucking reactions about non-issues have also become a continuous source of corroboration to many that they are way left of “middle America,” however that is defined. We have even seen proof that they realize this [the recent CNN scandal] and still can’t help themselves.
The definition of “middle America” was radically changed by the results of the 2016 presidential election, which moved pivotal “red states” to blue. The media is still in total shock.
Just as the media got it wrong about the election, they got it wrong about taking on “the Donald” on the media stage — in fact, he has taken their stage away from them.
How? It’s really a battle over ratings, money, ego and relevancy — and, so far, Mr. Trump is winning in all categories. Let’s look at each:
Ratings. In the “look at me” category, the Conservative Drudge Report is way up and The New York Times and Washington Post are way down. Wounded liberals have clustered around their “chief clucker,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who is so far left of reality many watch her for laughs.
Money. Major network news readers are paid millions, mostly to recite whatever they have been given by their “27-year-old know nothings” [a term coined by President Obama’s chief news manipulator, Ben Rhodes, who used them to set up “echo chambers” for his spins].
But they are simply “empty suits,” and we all know it, doing their best [or worst] impression of Ron Burgundy. Remember “Lying Brian”? These guys are essentially doing “infomercials,” and Mr. Trump is way beyond needing any of them — as Mr. Obama did — to get his message out. This, and their plummeting ratings, reduces their value, and the networks are in a panic.
They should be — and it will only get worse for them: $20 million for a news reader?
Ego. It’s all about ego in Washington D.C. The president has taken the mike away from both the media and Congress, and many senators are as mad at him as the media is. This is a “me, me, me” town, and you can see the contempt in the eyes of some senators as they take their vicious swats at Mr. Trump. And, all they get on the evening news anymore is a rude sound bite taken in the congressional tunnel, set up with a “soft ball” question from some equally irrelevant network “congressional correspondent.”
Relevancy. The short answer is that Mr. Trump has hooked into the way millions — actually billions — of people communicate today, and has much fewer of us depending on the media for information. Add the media’s obsession with putting a political spin on the news, and we have another reason not to believe them. Have you noticed that most everything on TV and other media sources sounds and reads like an op-ed? What’s happened to simple news reporting?
Everyone on TV now is a political or national affairs “analyst” whether they ever had a “real job” of any consequence, in government or not. Most have not — they are “broadcasters” and start their careers as local news hacks. Their most pressing goal is to get as much air time as possible — in short, they are actors. Mr. Trump’s tweets have them all reading his lines, however, and they hate him for it.
Where does all this end, or does it?
My take is that it doesn’t end — and Mr. Trump continues to beat the tar out of the media with his tweets.
Just look at the leverage he has: He gets up early, reads a selected summary of things, looks at a montage of TV reports, and then types out a few words that get immediate and world-wide attention. In fact, several other world leaders have begun to tweet as well, and for the same reasons. The key word here is “leverage” — and Mr. Trump’s tweets give most of it to him in his war with the media.
His “best tweet ever”? By far it’s the whole idea of “fake news” — and now we all know what that means: It’s what the media does.
• Daniel Gallington writes about national security, and he actually did it for many years at senior levels.