President Trump Rewrites the Media Playbook
Irrespective of any policy controversies in his nascent administration, one thing is clear: President Trump’s fearless, effective handling of the liberal media redounds to his benefit in a manner never seen before in Republican politics.
He’s the first Republican president who responds immediately to biased reporting and doesn’t let a single charge go by unrefuted. He is totally unafraid of being combative and confrontational. He has empowered and emboldened his advisors and spokespeople, like Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus -- to act likewise, with effective results. For the first time, conservatives are not shouting at the TV out of frustration, “You should have said....” Now, the Trump administration says it.
President Trump makes liberal reporters with their all-too-obvious gotcha agendas look ridiculous. He shines the light of illegitimacy and bias on them for the entire world to see. “Fake News” is now part of the national lexicon. The more the liberal MSM try to deny it, the more they implicate themselves. As he calls out Jake Tapper or Jim Acosta or any other reporter or network by name, he usually starts with a joke -- “You know, there are a lot of reporters here with higher-rated shows than yours. I shouldn’t even be calling on you.”
Everyone laughs. The audience gets it, completely.
Even casually attentive voters have become aware of liberal media bias. In only a few short months, Trump has exposed the MSM as Democratic shills. “Failing New York Times,” “The dishonest media,” and everything else he says rings true with Conservatives and casual attentives of any affiliation -- because they can see it’s true.
“Look at all the people here tonight at this rally. Unbelievable. There are 15, 20, 25 thousand of you. This place is filled. Will the dishonest media swing their cameras around and show the crowd? I bet they won’t!” And of course, they don’t.
Never before has a Republican candidate or president countered and neutered the liberal media so effectively.
- Certainly not George W. Bush, who let them hammer him into a dismal 28% approval rating over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the weapons of mass destruction, Abu Ghraib, the banking crisis, etc.
- Certainly not John McCain, who let the liberal media cast him as an old, out-of-touch, nervous candidate with a nutcase for his VP running mate.
- And certainly not Mitt Romney, who let Candy Crowley and Obama roll him like a street drunk over Benghazi and the “terrorism” word in their second Presidential debate, on foreign policy.
Media losers, all of them. As Trump would say, “Big league.”
But Trump is a media winner. “Big Time.” He speaks directly to the people. His tweets get completely around the liberal MSM filter and the MSM hates it. His rallies speak directly to his supporters and his statements on policy are clear and unarguable: “We’re going to round up violent convicted illegal immigrant felons and kick them out of the country.” Who would disagree with that? The liberal MSM is furious about not being able to twist it into “We’re going to kick immigrants out of the country.” They would ‘accidentally’ leave out the convicted illegal felons part. Now, they can’t.
The liberal press is actually becoming somewhat gun-shy with him now, prefacing questions and remarks by saying, “We don’t hate you,” and “This is a fair question, really, not a ‘gotcha’ question. May I ask it?”
The viewership/listenership waits to see how President Trump will respond. If Trump shows any displeasure or irritation, the audience dismisses the questioner and his/her organization as “another one of those.”
Rasmussen had him at 52% approval last week, a very good mark for any president, and one that’s particularly astonishing in light of the unprecedented, unrelenting liberal attacks on him. He’s doing more, sooner, than any president in recent memory. He speaks directly to the issues that matter to the people and he says what he’ll do without equivocation, doubletalk or dancing. His cabinet picks are not political payback or “gifts” for past support; instead, they’re unfailingly who he thinks will do the best job.
All of which drives the liberal media nuts, because he’s not smooth-talking and vague like Obama and he’s not given to praying at the altar of political correctness. Instead, his policies are based on what he feels will be the best for the country, regardless of how it does or doesn’t affect the special interest group du jour. Another plus: he doesn’t have any patience for the usual “talk about it for eight months/convene a Gov’t-funded study/put it off until after the next elections” timeframe.
Trump’s efforts against liberal media bias can be likened to a U.S. naval bombardment against Japanese shore fortifications on a Pacific island in WWII before the Marines went ashore, or our Air Force’s nonstop bombing of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard positions in 1991 before we initiated our ground assault. We “softened them up” before we attacked directly. Trump has “softened them up.”
Nothing will ever be the same from this point on. Trump has shown everyone how to do it, and any good future Republican candidate has the blueprint of how to build that house. The liberal media can dig their heels in all they want and continue to attack, but voters now know and see the truth. Trump has lessened the liberal MSM’s impact to the point where it’s no longer the critical, defining element it once was.