Trump and the war with media


It’s still difficult to comprehend that Donald Trump is president of the United States of America.

Yes, I’m happy about it. And it’s not as though Trump’s victory took me by surprise. I wrote several times throughout the long, long presidential campaign that the 2016 election was, despite what the polls said, a change election. Hillary Clinton was never going to represent change, nor did any of the other Republican candidates, not in any meaningful way, not in the way that millions of voters wanted change.

Change may be too mild of a description. What voters wanted was upheaval, a complete undoing of the status quo in favor of a tell-it-like-it-is “drain the swamp” outsider maverick.

As of this writing, Donald Trump has been president for nearly 72 hours. So far, no nuclear missiles have been launched, as the left warned. In fact, President Trump is less likely to launch a nuclear war than most presidents, if for no other reason than his own self interests. Trump owns property all over the world.

Donald Trump’s greatest sources of pride are his vast holdings and his children and grandchildren. He doesn’t want any of it blown to smithereens. Trump wants to go down in history as America’s greatest president, and that is his highest motivation. Trump’s ego is the size of Texas, but in this case it also serves as a positive influence to get results.

Trump’s first two or three days in office have been dominated by hissy fits by Big Media (a term I prefer to “mainstream media,’ since the media in question is hardly in the mainstream of America) that he seems to have declared war on them, an odd complaint considering the media’s non-stop war on Trump. How dare he fight back?

When it comes to his relationship with the media, Donald Trump is doing exactly what countless Republicans and conservatives have threatened to do over the years, but have never found the courage to do – call out Big Media for what it has become, an all-but-declared enemy of the GOP, and treat it as such not just by whining about it, but by taking it on in daily hand-to-hand combat.

Over the weekend, Big Media – The New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC (and MSNBC), ABC, CBS, CNN and all their affiliated digital platforms – were tripping over each other to point out “lies” being told by Trump and his press secretary, Sean Spicer, over everything from the size of the crowd at the inauguration to Trump’s relationship with the intelligence community.

Big Media has been “fact checking” Trump over the weekend, and – surprise, surprise – has rendered a judgment of guilty on all counts of fudging the facts. Trouble is, they have no credibility to do so. They surrendered it completely during the campaign and beyond with their open, unapologetic ridiculing of Trump and his supporters and their blatant support for Hillary, ending with their embarrassing weeping over the fact that it was not Hillary Clinton taking the oath on Friday.

Fox News, also part of Big Media but the only one residing on the right rather than the left, has also given up any real claim to the “fair and balanced” slogan it adopted long ago. Fox News’ entire business model is based on its decision to cater to an audience that was ignored and even ridiculed by the rest of Big Media. Such a model garners big numbers – liberals have multiple viewing options for news, thereby splintering the audience, while conservatives have only one – but it also disqualifies Fox as an unbiased deliverer of fact.

Where does someone go today for a national media outlet that delivers the facts and just the facts, without a blatant bias on the left or the right? I can’t think of one, and that is America’s loss.

And that is also why it is difficult to suggest that President Trump should stop tweeting, even though under ideal circumstances (an unbiased media atmosphere) I would suggest as much. Trump’s ability to reach millions of Twitter followers and bypass the press is a formidable weapon, one which the media’s own recklessness has made more powerful and even necessary.

But many of Trump’s tweets over the course of the campaign were indefensible, just like social media comments made from time to time by the mayor of Hillsboro, including recently. Trump and Drew Hastings share a lot of qualities that are appealing, but they also share the same unfortunate inclination for unnecessary insensitivity resulting in self-inflicted wounds – not that Hastings is the only elected official in Hillsboro with a social media problem. City council should consider writing and instituting a social media Code of Conduct for all city officials.

In Trump’s case, there is still hope that he will at least temper his tweets and use the platform less frequently and in less inflammatory fashion. But make no mistake, we live in a new national media environment and a new social media environment. We now have a new president who understands the game as it is played today, and he’s better at playing it than the media.

Donald Trump is the first true social media president. Those who keep urging him to be “more presidential” in the traditional sense are living in a bygone world. Still, President Trump needs to find a balance between delivering his message directly to the people while still maintaining a level of respect befitting the Oval Office – a respect that should be expected and fostered, even in a social media world.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at [email protected].

By Gary Abernathy

[email protected]

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