Donald Trump, Media Mogul
Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza recalled an unusual question the president asked him when he visited the White House in early 2020.
“What do you think I should do?” asked the president referring to his career after leaving the White House. D’Souza didn’t hesitate to suggest the president -- who had been tormented by the mainstream media for four years -- launch his own independent news network.
He envisioned the president breaking the chokehold Big Media has exerted on news cycles broadcasting 24/7 ((i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, etc.). The president responded with: “You mean give up real estate?” That is exactly what D’Souza had in mind for a president who watched Big Media fuse their election coverage into the Joe Biden campaign.
Trump must have experienced a sense of deja vu watching Big Media collude with Biden’s campaign, after having campaigned for “Team Hillary” In 2016. Campaign advisor Steve Bannon offended the sensibilities of leftist reporters by accurately labeling them as “the enemy.” “Things are only going to get worse,” he predicted of their four-year tantrum to come.
Placating a “corrupt” media wasn’t a part of Trump’s playbook. He set a new tone for fighting back against a mainstream media slavishly devoted to fixed narratives -- better known to conservatives as “fake news.”
Now CNN reporters had to contend with chants of “fake news” from loyal Trump supporters as they attempted to deliver their asymmetrical reporting at Trump rallies, or out in the field. Trump was indefatigable in his confrontations with the media, and he would be no less formidable as a media mogul fighting for network ratings.
He’s had ample on-the-job training. Every time the leftist talking heads threw a stink bomb (disguised as a major breaking story) over the political fence, Trump was not above tossing it back into the enemy’s camp. And voices raised on the left were now countered by conservative commentators, many of whom at Fox News were burying CNN in the ratings game.
Fox contributor Brent Bozell aptly summed up the new age of journalism describing it as having thrown the journalistic rulebook out the window. Censorship played a key role, he said, in preserving “Uncle Joe’s” image in the presidential election. “Now we know the impact of the (Biden) cover-up,” he wrote of Big Media a few weeks after the election (which the president retweeted). Nearly 5 percent of the “Biden voters say they would not have voted for him had they been aware of the evidence,” exposing the numerous family-related financial scandals.
Would this have been enough to tilt the election, even with widespread fraud?
If Trump had played by his predecessor’s rulebook, he would have quietly faded into the sunset, accepting the election results. He’s still fighting, and he has an excellent chance of discovering more malfeasance among the tens of millions of mail-in ballots.
“Crazy Nancy,” a not-so-affectionate term of Trump’s for the Speaker of the House, got her wish with the “no fault” ballot submissions. Dead people, unregistered voters and nonexistent residents could easily slip into the stack of “legitimate” votes. The proposed legislation didn’t pass on the House floor, but she managed to implement it in real life.
D’Souza was among the first to point out the president’s indefatigable ability to push back against seemingly overwhelming odds. His worst detractors (no shortage there) wrote off his presidential campaign in 2016 with what appeared the ultimate “gotcha” moment manufactured by Big Media.
NBC News intended to strike the death blow to his campaign with the humiliating (11-year-old) hot-mike tape release of then real estate mogul Trump engaged in locker-room talk.
It’s almost as if the president had the proverbial “nine lives” in the campaign. A seemingly unapologetic Trump called a press conference and paraded out a panel of women who claimed they had been sexually assaulted by the former first lady’s husband, Bill Clinton. “I may talk about it (groping women),” said Trump, “but at least I don’t do it,” suggesting Hillary Clinton’s husband did things far worse, with her knowledge.
Many voters were not aware of Hillary Clinton’s attempts to harass and intimidate some of the alleged victims into silence. Now they knew.
"Who does that?” asks D’Souza with four years' hindsight. Perhaps someone who has gone up against the most corrupt unions in New York’s building industry and understands the necessity to play by a different rulebook.
Trump’s ability to make his own rules would serve as the winning formula for executing his legislative coups. Many of his team members worked overtime drafting lists of those achievements, most of which never saw the light of day in Big Media. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who never had enough nasty things to say about the president, referred to Trump’s brilliant peace accords in the Middle East as a “distraction.”
Occasionally a CNN commentator displayed enough integrity to recognize the president’s unprecedented reforms. Van Jones suggested the president deserved credit for massive prison reform and funneling large sums of financial support to African-American colleges. (The commentator assisted advisor Jared Kushner in drafting the prison reform.) Jones would pay the price for being a “traitor” and “Uncle Tom,” according to the typical hate messages posted on social media.
Integrity costs and some are willing to pay the price. Glenn Greenwald, founder of Intercept -- in an irony lost on no one -- created the media outlet to stop the widespread practice of censorship of legitimate stories. (He is a committed leftist.) Greenwald’s attempt to publish a credible story on the overwhelming evidence surfacing about Joe Biden’s corrupt family dealings was censored at his altruistic-minded media base. He resigned in disgust.
Part of Trump’s legacy will be his ability to survive in a swamp of which he never could have anticipated the depths of the toxic environment. How could he have known the “Russia-Collusion-Delusion” would serve as the tip of the iceberg?
Many of his devoted enemies underestimated the president’s ability to fight back and paid for it with their careers in ruin and their governmental agencies shamed by their actions. Among those highest on the list include James Comey, fired FBI director, Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of FBI, Peter Strozk, former FBI Chief of Counterespionage, Lisa Page, former FBI lawyer, and others.
Many of them have found safe harbor at CNN, and even have gone on to become paid contributors. Trump would be given another opportunity to recycle their names in the news should he start his own network.
D’Souza reminded the president of his “built-in” audience, now numbering more than 70 million since the November presidential vote. That doesn’t even include the Trump ballots thrown away on the side of the road by postal workers (two have been arrested) or the “accidental mistakes” made in switching the names from Trump to Biden by Dominion software.
CNN’s Don Lemon could not conceal his glee on the night of the election. He kept repeating: “I’m so happy,” and recognizing some of the viewers (wink-wink) may question his “objectivity.” He may find himself less gleeful if his actions -- and those of his colleagues -- were held accountable by a formidable opponent at a competing network.
Image: Gage Skidmore