Trump 'against reality' for not wanting to watch bottom-ranked CNN?
We all know the trope about CNN playing in airports. Every airport, it seems, is tuned to CNN, the bottom-ranked cable major among the news outlets, with less than 1,000,000 prime-time viewers. Diversity of information isn't the airports' strong suit.
So now President Trump doesn't want CNN played on Air Force One, and suddenly he's getting flak for it. The New York Times is particularly adamant about this, absurdly calling it new evidence that Trump lives in a bubble. Look at this pious rubbish:
The channel-flipping flap was the latest example of how Mr. Trump, at a pivotal moment in his presidency, is increasingly living in a world of selected information and bending the truth to his own narrative. As his aides work to keep him insulated from the outside world, Mr. Trump is doubling down in his efforts to tell supporters to trust him over the words of critics and news reports.
There are three problems with this "analysis."
One, CNN is down for a reason: it swings left, but not as persuasively as MSNBC, which bests it in the ratings. If you want your news left-wing, you head to MSNBC, not CNN, which pretends to be objective but delivers a leftward slant, alienating everyone. Explain why, exactly, the president should indulge a network that practices hypocrisy in its slanted delivery of the news. If he wants left-wing, he, too, can go to MSNBC, which disguises nothing.
Two, why should a president, presumably in tune with the country, pay attention to a network that the rest of America has largely tuned out? Adweek says its prime-time viewership is 929,000, quite a sorry performance compared to Fox, despite efforts to pretty those figures up. "Stuck in Third Place" is how the Hollywood Reporter puts it. On blogs and elsewhere, one constantly hears speculation about CNN's real viewership, which is undoubtedly buttressed artificially by its monopoly of playings in airports. How many viewers does CNN really have, subtracting the involuntary airport viewership?
President Trump is supposed to be watching these guys? As though they were a network of record? "Trump rages against reality," as the NYT reports, suggesting that CNN itself is the working definition of reality. Hey, CNN had its glory days, but these days, it's nothing but a rump player. It's not "reality."
Three, the bubble claim is claptrap – first, because no president, given his job, can read all news, or even a lot of news. Don't think Trump's predecessors weren't the same way, selective in how they read their news and, given their inclinations, just as bubble-bound.
Let's take a look at what President Obama read: The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, according to Rolling Stone, all three of which are significantly biased toward the left. Studies have shown that the WSJ's news pages are definitely left-side. Rolling Stone says Obama also reads the New Yorker and the Atlantic among the magazines, both of which slant significantly left, too. Apparently, Obama was never exposed to anything other than the establishment mainstream press of leftward slant. He certainly never laid eyes on a conservative publication, which was one reason why he seemed so out of tune with the country as he shoved forward Obamacare and allowed the EPA to destroy the Animas River.
Next up, the New York Times reported that Obama read the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and "major newspapers," plus the Economist and the New Yorker. Again, all one uniform worldview. Note also that unlike Trump, Obama is described as "an avid reader." Oh, and he didn't much bother with television news at all, something that went unremarked.
Trump, by contrast, "rages against reality," as the same New York Times put it.
Axios, which put this non-story in its Top Ten today, twisted the story further, suggesting that Melania Trump, instead of some aide, put the television channel to the offending CNN. As if Melania turns her own TV channels. Oh, the fun of it: Trump and Melania fighting again.
Bottom line: Everyone thinks Trump must watch CNN. Because not watching it is bad for business. Maybe bad for every left-wing news business – who knows?
What we are seeing here is a double standard in coverage. Obama's news choices, good; Trump's news choices, bad. All because Trump didn't want to watch a falling-rankings channel whose only story theme is hating Trump.
Sorry – this doesn't wash. File under more fake news. Trump has as much right to watch the station he wants as Obama.