Trump vs. the Media

The jobs report numbers for May were stunning: unemployment dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, an unexpected 223,000 non-farm jobs were added, and year-on-year wage gains rose to 2.7 percent.  Black unemployment dropped to a record 5.9 percent, a month after Hispanic unemployment hit a record low of 4.9 percent.

The only thing more stunning was the mainstream media's announcement of this economic milestone, typified by NBC News's blaring headline: "Trump Breaks Protocol with Jobs Report Tweet."

It seems obvious now that we've reached a tipping point where the mainstream news media are so thoroughly intoxicated with animus toward this president that their journalistic sobriety is in a state of permanent collapse.  Evenhanded reporting is evidently seen as capitulation to the enemy.  Defending Trump in any way would, no doubt, be considered treasonous.

This isn't media bias anymore.  This is war.

Media bias is PBS using David Brooks of the New York Times as its resident "conservative" and packing its "Washington Week in Review" panel with left-leaning reporters.

War is Phil Griffin of MSNBC waging an all-out assault on the Trump administration – peppering every daytime and prime-time show with pundits, Watergate prosecutors, and turncoat Republicans who pontificate from a presumption that President Trump is a corrupt obstructer of justice worthy not only of impeachment, but of criminal indictment afterward.

The raison d'être for an MSNBC show these days is to explore in detail the who, what, and when of this forgone conclusion.

And according to the May Nielsen ratings, it's working.

Griffin's policy of relentless propaganda without any dissenting voices challenging the host – something CNN and Fox News don't stoop to – keeps MSNBC's faithful watching, and his use of GOP shills to deliver anti-Trump messaging has proven equally effective.

Ex-Bushie Nicole Wallace's Deadline: White House, a daily love-in for Trump-haters, routinely challenges and sometimes beats the ratings of Fox's Neil Cavuto and CNN's Jake Tapper in the 4:00 P.M. time slot.

MSNBC analyst Steve Schmidt, former counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is famous for his fully automatic bursts of signature sanctimony about the moral depravity of the Trump White House and the Republican Party.

Still, Griffin's sharpest weapon – and the most difficult for any conservative to watch being used – is that venerable icon of the right, George Will.

Will's highbrow jeremiads against President Trump delivered on cue to a smirking Lawrence O'Donnell or solemnly nodding Chuck Todd are hard to witness.  One almost expects him to hold up a copy of the day's newspaper to prove he's still an alive and happy hostage. 

It doesn't stop there.

The liberal media have even managed to tar and feather President Trump with the Roseanne debacle.  At the same time, they've twisted themselves into pretzels worthy of Bill Clinton with their tortured distinctions between Roseanne Barr's racist tweet and Samantha Bee's unconscionable vulgarity aimed at the president's daughter.

The show Roseanne was summarily terminated for Barr's transgression, but Bee's show was not canceled, solely and not surprisingly because the object of the comedian's feckless humor was named Ivanka and not Chelsea.

Progressives also viewed the revelations of MSNBC's Joy Reid's prior postings of homophobic remarks, 9-11 truther sympathies, and a cartoon likening war hero John McCain to the Virginia Tech shooter, as hardly worth a raised eyebrow.

Why?  Because Reid is a rising star: an icon of color in training for the liberal elite.  Her apology for her reactionary words, which included conservative positions on immigration, had to merit instant redemption and reconciliation, even though the apology was accompanied by a knowing lie that someone had hacked into her account and written those same quotes for which she apologized – a ludicrous claim that has been completely debunked.

She hasn't blamed President Trump or the Russians for the hacking yet, but if the Wayback Machine finds more scurrilous sentiments and heretical political views of that "other Joy Reid," anything's possible.

What's not possible is any lessening of the fury of these political battles in the toxic climate of 2018, at least not until after the midterm elections, which are likely to be the most contentious non-presidential contests, with the highest voter participation ever recorded, in our nation's history.

On the left will be candidates of every liberal stripe, buoyed by a swell of progressive outrage and lionized by a complicit news media, all fighting passionately against one opponent on the right whose name doesn't appear on any ballot: Donald Trump.

That's because he's a political lightning rod like no other we've seen – a president who has eschewed virtually every protocol of the modern chief executive as he delights in operating a 19th-century White House in the manner of Andrew Jackson.

He's "Old Hickory" in a Brioni suit, every bit as repugnant to the David Gergens and Richard Haasses and Mitt Romneys of the world as he is to the Noam Chomskys, and every bit as audacious as General Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.

And he's going to keep it that way, because he can.

The president knows, as James Carville famously taught, that it's the jobs, wages, and consumer confidence numbers that determine victories in November, not the Rachel Maddows or Chuck Schumers or Robert Muellers.

The mainstream media and their Democratic comrades can wage war against Trump all they want, at least until election day.  That's when their "blue wave" is going to be evaporated by the white-hot flash of this New York businessman-president's own "Manhattan Project": a vibrant and growing economy.

Timothy Philen is the author of Harper&Row/Lippincott's You CAN Run Away From It!, a satirical indictment of American pop psychology.

The jobs report numbers for May were stunning: unemployment dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, an unexpected 223,000 non-farm jobs were added, and year-on-year wage gains rose to 2.7 percent.  Black unemployment dropped to a record 5.9 percent, a month after Hispanic unemployment hit a record low of 4.9 percent.

The only thing more stunning was the mainstream media's announcement of this economic milestone, typified by NBC News's blaring headline: "Trump Breaks Protocol with Jobs Report Tweet."

It seems obvious now that we've reached a tipping point where the mainstream news media are so thoroughly intoxicated with animus toward this president that their journalistic sobriety is in a state of permanent collapse.  Evenhanded reporting is evidently seen as capitulation to the enemy.  Defending Trump in any way would, no doubt, be considered treasonous.

This isn't media bias anymore.  This is war.

Media bias is PBS using David Brooks of the New York Times as its resident "conservative" and packing its "Washington Week in Review" panel with left-leaning reporters.

War is Phil Griffin of MSNBC waging an all-out assault on the Trump administration – peppering every daytime and prime-time show with pundits, Watergate prosecutors, and turncoat Republicans who pontificate from a presumption that President Trump is a corrupt obstructer of justice worthy not only of impeachment, but of criminal indictment afterward.

The raison d'être for an MSNBC show these days is to explore in detail the who, what, and when of this forgone conclusion.

And according to the May Nielsen ratings, it's working.

Griffin's policy of relentless propaganda without any dissenting voices challenging the host – something CNN and Fox News don't stoop to – keeps MSNBC's faithful watching, and his use of GOP shills to deliver anti-Trump messaging has proven equally effective.

Ex-Bushie Nicole Wallace's Deadline: White House, a daily love-in for Trump-haters, routinely challenges and sometimes beats the ratings of Fox's Neil Cavuto and CNN's Jake Tapper in the 4:00 P.M. time slot.

MSNBC analyst Steve Schmidt, former counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is famous for his fully automatic bursts of signature sanctimony about the moral depravity of the Trump White House and the Republican Party.

Still, Griffin's sharpest weapon – and the most difficult for any conservative to watch being used – is that venerable icon of the right, George Will.

Will's highbrow jeremiads against President Trump delivered on cue to a smirking Lawrence O'Donnell or solemnly nodding Chuck Todd are hard to witness.  One almost expects him to hold up a copy of the day's newspaper to prove he's still an alive and happy hostage. 

It doesn't stop there.

The liberal media have even managed to tar and feather President Trump with the Roseanne debacle.  At the same time, they've twisted themselves into pretzels worthy of Bill Clinton with their tortured distinctions between Roseanne Barr's racist tweet and Samantha Bee's unconscionable vulgarity aimed at the president's daughter.

The show Roseanne was summarily terminated for Barr's transgression, but Bee's show was not canceled, solely and not surprisingly because the object of the comedian's feckless humor was named Ivanka and not Chelsea.

Progressives also viewed the revelations of MSNBC's Joy Reid's prior postings of homophobic remarks, 9-11 truther sympathies, and a cartoon likening war hero John McCain to the Virginia Tech shooter, as hardly worth a raised eyebrow.

Why?  Because Reid is a rising star: an icon of color in training for the liberal elite.  Her apology for her reactionary words, which included conservative positions on immigration, had to merit instant redemption and reconciliation, even though the apology was accompanied by a knowing lie that someone had hacked into her account and written those same quotes for which she apologized – a ludicrous claim that has been completely debunked.

She hasn't blamed President Trump or the Russians for the hacking yet, but if the Wayback Machine finds more scurrilous sentiments and heretical political views of that "other Joy Reid," anything's possible.

What's not possible is any lessening of the fury of these political battles in the toxic climate of 2018, at least not until after the midterm elections, which are likely to be the most contentious non-presidential contests, with the highest voter participation ever recorded, in our nation's history.

On the left will be candidates of every liberal stripe, buoyed by a swell of progressive outrage and lionized by a complicit news media, all fighting passionately against one opponent on the right whose name doesn't appear on any ballot: Donald Trump.

That's because he's a political lightning rod like no other we've seen – a president who has eschewed virtually every protocol of the modern chief executive as he delights in operating a 19th-century White House in the manner of Andrew Jackson.

He's "Old Hickory" in a Brioni suit, every bit as repugnant to the David Gergens and Richard Haasses and Mitt Romneys of the world as he is to the Noam Chomskys, and every bit as audacious as General Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.

And he's going to keep it that way, because he can.

The president knows, as James Carville famously taught, that it's the jobs, wages, and consumer confidence numbers that determine victories in November, not the Rachel Maddows or Chuck Schumers or Robert Muellers.

The mainstream media and their Democratic comrades can wage war against Trump all they want, at least until election day.  That's when their "blue wave" is going to be evaporated by the white-hot flash of this New York businessman-president's own "Manhattan Project": a vibrant and growing economy.

Timothy Philen is the author of Harper&Row/Lippincott's You CAN Run Away From It!, a satirical indictment of American pop psychology.