Trump begins implementing his presidential media strategy

Donald Trump summoned a group of “30 to 40” television executives and anchors to the Trump Tower yesterday and began a sophisticated media strategy.  Naturally, he is already being underrated, and his enemies do not understand what is about to happen to them.

The early report in The New York Post was more colorful than other subsequent accounts and has already been disputed, including by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC this morning.

Donald Trump scolded media big shots during an off-the-record Trump Tower sitdown on Monday, sources told The Post.

“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.

“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source added.

A second source confirmed the fireworks.

Joe Flint in the Wall Street Journal considerably toned down his account this morning:

During the meeting, which was organized by Mr. Trump’s staff, the president-elect criticized the executives and correspondents for their election coverage and predictions that he would lose to Hillary Clinton, according to a person familiar with the gathering. The president-elect also complained about some of the postelection coverage as well but wants to wipe the slate clean, this person said.

That he wants to “wipe the slate clean” probably means that Trump is holding out a carrot.  To be sure, he has many legitimate complaints, for instance about Martha Raddatz, who moderated a presidential debate and cried over Hillary’s loss during the ABC TV election night coverage, as at least one source has indicated that Trump mentioned.  There is no reasonable response to that other than an apology for it.

Trump was conducting a seminar, reportedly in his boardroom atop Trump Tower.  Don’t kid yourself: these people are being affected by the fact that Trump’s world is one of affluence they can’t dream of.  The message impressing itself on their subconscious is that this is unlike any other president of the United States.

Over the weekend, at Bedminster, Trump showed the media how it is done, as the head of BET-TV urged blacks to give Trump “a shot.”

KERNEN: “And as far as some of the protests and what is behind the protests, whether it’s the racist accusations to the people that he is appointing or whatever, what would you say in this atmosphere right now after meeting with him? Is there a lot to fear for minorities and immigrants and everything else?”
JOHNSON: “You know, Joe, I have known President-elect Trump for some time. I knew him when I was running BET, and I’ve seen him at a number of events and it’s my conclusion that we can find common ground with the Trump Administration. I know I had a great dialogue with him, with his son-in-law, Jared, and I know Reince Priebus, so my approach to these guys is, look, ‘I don’t look at you as enemies and I don’t look at you as necessarily friends. I look at the question as, on behalf of African-Americans, I’m talking about we have permanent interests. That doesn’t mean that one day we won’t support you or one day we will support you.’ And that’s where the African-American voter should be. This is something that a member — Congressman Bill Clay from Missouri said when the Congressional Black Caucus was founded, that black American should have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent interests. With the Trump Administration, that’s the philosophy we should take and we should not lock ourselves in one part or the other. And I’m a Democrat, and I say this with all due respect to the Democratic Party and to the Republican Party, this country needs somebody that is going to lead it and not somebody who is going to force us to choose sides. If President-elect Trump believes that he should be talking about what black Americans have to gain, as President Obama said and Hillary said, ‘Let’s give him a shot. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see if we can find common ground,’ and I think that’s the best interest of African-Americans.”

There was of course a stick as well as a carrot.  That did not even have to mentioned.

Mr. Trump was quite knowledgeable about the ratings for many of the various networks represented at the meeting, a person briefed on the matter said.

As a matter of fact, Trump had a long-running, highly profitable hit franchise and understands the economics of the television business better than any other politician in American history.  He’s not a mere intellectual; he’s a player.  He doesn’t need to go anywhere near a statement that could be construed as a threat.  All he needed to do was indicate how well he understands their vulnerabilities.

 In addition, his wife, Melania also made a cameo appearance.

This would be the very same Melania who just reaped a ton of sympathy for the mimicking and mockery she endured during a stupid music awards show.  The same Melania who is the most beautiful, cosmopolitan, and exotic first lady in the history of the Republic.  All the bigwigs in the room are old enough to remember the cult that quickly developed around Jacqueline Kennedy.  Her televised tour of the White House catapulted her into superstar status, a key component in the development of the Camelot mythology.

If I understand that Donald Trump is probably the most successful reality television producer in history, so did everybody in the room.  Melania Trump will have many opportunities to captivate a majority of Americans, no matter how the deranged Trump haters may scream.  Among other things, televising her variants on Jackie’s White House tour will be very profitable programming opportunities, for which the star can receive no compensation.