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Monday, March 25, 2019

As reality TV programs go, the Trump administration is a badly-scripted muddle. How much longer will loyal viewers stick around? Just the other day, the president reached out to the influential Imaginary-American community. He dashed out a tweet thanking one Nicole Mincey, supposedly a conservative black woman enthusiastically posting praise of Trump himself.

Except, uh-oh, the photogenic Mincey appeared not to exist. Pictures of her wearing Trump paraphernalia turned out to be photo-shopped screen-grabs of African-American fashion models. Twitter suspended the @ProTrump45 account after concluding that it was a phony, perhaps originating (where else?) in Russia.

Since then, a real Nicole Mincy (note alternate spelling), has emerged, claiming that she’s a victim of identity theft.

Twitter estimates that slightly more than half of Trump’s approximately 30 million followers are “bots,” i.e. fraudulent accounts, many (again) Russian.

Almost simultaneously, Trump lashed out at his favorite whipping boy, the so-called “mainstream media:” “Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES & WAPO, the Trump base is getting stronger!”

Is it even necessary to point out that the president’s approval rating in opinion polls has sunk to record lows?

But polls come and go. What’s really alarming are Trump’s efforts to depict the news media as united in a near-treasonous conspiracy against him and his supporters. Or would be if they weren’t so clearly born of desperation.

He repeatedly lashes out at the “failing NY Times,” another falsehood.

In fact, while the newspaper business in general has suffered of late, a few big national imprints are doing well. The Times’ public relations people counter- tweeted: “That is incorrect. NYT’s business is thriving. Most ever paid subs: 3.3 million; and growing profit, income and revenues.”

Almost needless to say, it won’t be long before Trump sits down with The Times’ Maggie Haberman for an unscripted interview. A New Yorker, he craves the establishment’s imprimatur.

Posturing before a cheering crowd at a campaign-style rally in West Virginia, however, the president took it to the next level. He called independent counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election a “witch hunt,” and a “total fabrication.” He accused Democrats of seeking “an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.”            

Then he went there:

“They can’t beat us at the voting booths,” Trump charged “so they’re trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want. They’re trying to cheat you out of the leadership you want with a fake story that is demeaning to all of us, and most importantly, demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution.”

The good news, I think, is that Trump hasn’t got the courage of his fabrications. Nor have his most enthusiastic supporters. That West Virginia audience was basically a pro-wrestling crowd, easily titillated and vastly entertained by the president’s antics.

There’s a big opening here for that very funny wrestler working the Appalachian small town circuit who styles himself “The Progressive Liberal”—the guy with photos of Hillary Clinton on his shirt. “I understand now why you all identify with country music,” Dan Richards tells audiences. “It’s slow and it’s simple and it’s boring, just like each and every one of you.”

If only the dude had wrestling moves commensurate with his wit.

But I digress. As shocking as it may have been to hear accusations of treason out of the president’s mouth, along with calls to have his 2016 Democratic rival jailed (“Lock her up!”), Vladimir Putin he ain’t.

“I can call spirits from the vasty deep,” boasts Owen Glendower in Shakespeare’s King Henry IV, Part I.

“Why, so can I, or so can any man,” Hotspur responds. “But will they come when you do call for them?”

In Trump’s case, no. This president hasn’t got the self-discipline to lead a coup, and the great majority of his followers are far too comfortable watching the televised spectacle in their recliner chairs to take to the streets. Only a steadily shrinking minority believes the president’s “witch hunt” rhetoric, and not very strongly. As I say, it’s poorly-scripted melodrama.

As for the dreaded “mainstream media,” it’s tempting to observe that as the cable news networks—CNN and MSNBC particularly—made Trump, it’s only fitting that they play a role in unmaking him. Some with long memories can even remember Hardball’s Chris Matthews audibly panting as Gennifer Flowers told him about the Clintons’ many imaginary murders.

The New York Times played FBI Director James Comey’s ill-advised letter temporarily re-opening the Hillary Clinton email probe last November like the landfall of Superstorm Sandy.

Basically, they all did.

Meanwhile, under the pressure of Trump’s shameless, incessant lying, his trademark “Fake News” slogan has turned itself inside-out. What once signified “make-believe” has basically come to mean “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

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31 responses to “Trump’s War On The Press: A Poorly-Scripted Melodrama”

  1. TZToronto says:

    The major newspapers–even those with a conservative bias–recognize that they, as much as the NYT and WAPO, are targets of Trump’s rants. They’re not suddenly going to become Trump’s lying mouthpieces just because he has a very thin skin. As Mark Twain said, “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

    • Great remark by Twain(Samuel Clemens). Thanks for bringing that apropos line to our attention.

    • ⭐️ BRAINTHRUST 5000 ⭐️ says:

      Aside: That doesn’t appear to be a genuine Twain quote, btw – there’s no record of him ever saying it. It was possibly coined by Congressman Charles B. Brownson, who was born after Twain had died.

      • TZToronto says:

        I’ve seen it attributed to a number of people, but it certainly sounds like something Mark Twain would have said.

        • ⭐️ BRAINTHRUST 5000 ⭐️ says:

          It does! … but sadly that’s not proof. There’s no record of the phrase appearing before the mid-1900s, I think.

    • dtgraham says:

      One of the great Mark Twain quotes. There are some that still say that the famous phrase was from the distinguished English writer, Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), but no historian has ever been able to attribute it to him. It became a popular phrase in the late 19th century after Mark Twain uttered it.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Trump has a plan. He knows he cannot control the BBC or other foreign media from presenting the truth. So, he figures….go the Putin route and isolate US media under his control so he can ram his lies and propaganda down our throats.

      All with Republican approval.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      Trump’s “war” against the press takes a back seat to the deliberately reckless, and threatening, statements he has been making about North Korea and Iran. I suspect that he concluded that the easiest way to improve his approval rating, and virtually end the Russia investigation and the probability of impeachment, is to start a war, A real war. The fact that hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people, will die is of little consequence to Trump. His top priority is himself, his image, and eliciting unconditional loyalty and support. Everything else is irrelevant. Unfortunately for NK, Kim Jong-Un does not know who he is dealing with, and in addition to committing suicide (he will not survive), he is delivering a death sentence to his people, and his neighbors. Another goal is to derail any diplomatic talks between China and NK. Trump is not interested in diplomatic solutions, he wants war. He will frame it in the context of saving America and our allies, even if thousands die as a result of his cynical agenda, and his supporters will love him for it.

      • TZToronto says:

        Perhaps when the main drag in McCook, Nebraska, has a lovely green glow, the folks who voted for Trump will start to question their choice–as their hair falls out.

  2. Trump rants on about some future that the rest of us, aside from his loyal stooges, don’t share.
    When Trump yells at his amateur wrestling crowds in W. Virginia, and elsewhere, Donald is just blowing hot air to relieve the mounting pressure, while dreaming of some dystopian future no sane person wants to be in.

    • dbtheonly says:

      Aaron,

      Alex Jones and “PizzaGate” convinced a guy to take an assault rifle into a pizza joint.
      Cliven Bundy threatened BLM Officers trying to keep his cattle off of Federal land.
      His Son took over the Visitors Center of a Wildlife Refuge.
      Whatsisname killed 9 people in that church in Charleston.

      “His jest doth savor of shallow wit
      When thousands more weep
      Than did laugh at it.”

      These people have guns. Trump’s convinced them that they are victims. Trump’s urging them to fight back.

      It ain’t funny.

      • Gerry Francis says:

        I hope they’re ready and willing to fight the North Koreans.

        • dbtheonly says:

          Let us all hope and pray it does not come to that.

          But a nuclear armed DPRK, willing and able to threaten the US, and her Allies, has not been acceptable to any US Administration.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            If all it takes to make the middle aged knows alls to face the reality that diplomacy is always better than a nuclear war is for Trump’s duking it out with his mentally defective other half, KJU, so be it.

            I believe now some of these right wingers are finally personalizing the fact that a nuclear warhead will incinerate them and their children.

          • dbtheonly says:

            Suggest rather that the entire Republican Party may, finally, be reaching the conclusion that bluster, buzz words, and sound bites, do not make a good, or even coherent, public policy. They worked for years against Presidents Clinton and Obama, but much like the dog that catches the car, now what?

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Wow! Perfect analogy! I like that…the dog who chases cars and catches one…love it!

          • dbtheonly says:

            Thank you.

            I thought it brutally apparent during the ObamaCare saga. Republicans were perfectly willing to vote to repeal ObamaCare, as long as President Obama was there to veto it. Once it looked like those votes would have real consequences, well you saw what happened.

          • dpaano says:

            For some reason, Trump thinks his ranting and braying about “fire and fury” will intimidate Kim Jung Un….he doesn’t realize that Kim is just as unbalanced as he is and WILL make his threats come true! Unfortunately for our president, he doesn’t realize that our nuclear armaments are NOT as “modernized” as he seems to think they are. Plus, I doubt if many of “his generals” will go along with lobbing a bomb at North Korea, risking them from retaliating by bombing Guam, which would end up being another Pearl Harbor. Since Pearl Harbor, we’ve never had another country bomb a U.S. territory, so he’ll have to take the blame for any consequences if this happens! I doubt if, like Trump, Kim Jong Un will back down on his threats. It’s like two bull moose trying to fight for the right to procreate……which one will back down first? It’s a risky thought!

          • dbtheonly says:

            The Republicans will blame President Obama for anything bad that happens.

            Though, I’m thinking that the real Bull Moose wouldn’t have engaged in a bluster battle with Kim. Speaking softly has much to commend it.

          • Gerry Francis says:

            I have a 20 year old son…….you better believe I’m praying. For ALL the young men – war is such a waste.

          • dbtheonly says:

            War is never a good answer. Sometimes it’s just the best answer. I grew up on too many stories of ignoring a lunatic Dictator when stopping him permanently would have been painful but doable and waiting until the very existence

  3. Louis Lemieux says:

    Some presidents have criticised the press before for stressing one view over another but none has called the press “fake news” like Trump keeps doing. Only dictators do that

  4. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    You know what I find utterly hilarious about Trump? Picture this…the media has had enough of Trump Tweet Storms bashing them and their expertise and truthfulness and blacks out all of his tweets, FACE time opportunities and attempts to BE the only press.

    You want to really piss Trump off? Block him from the media. He’d go nuts. As we all know, he believes himself to be the Biglyest covfefe ROCK Star in the universe. Ever know ANY rock star who isn’t a FACE time hog?

  5. Dapper Dan says:

    I’ve gotten to the point that trump is literally the biggest major bore that ever was. I tune out his yammering now and I watch relevant news that numbnuts think is fake news

  6. johninPCFL says:

    “Posturing before a cheering crowd at a campaign-style rally in West Virginia” – that looked just like a 1930s Nuremberg rally, didn’t it? All that was missing were the flags bordering the walkway the fuehrer walked down. They already had the “heil trump” salutes going.

  7. Richard Prescott says:

    OK, let’s accept one thing. Many of the network news Channels were as faked out as many voters by all the real fake news and total lies stories before and during the campaigns.
    Some are waking up, but others, like Fox News, are still deep in his bowels. Read that as HSFUHAIH.
    And one really worrisome one, Sinclair Broadcasting, is coming along at a fast and furious pace buying up local networks in many areas. These guys are actually worse than Fox. They are more like a weird merging of Brietbart News, InfoWars and Stephen Miller.

  8. notafoxfan says:

    everything that was written or said about mr trump during his campaign,as far as reasons not to elect the man,have come to fruition..he is was and always will be a con artist..he is in his own mind, the great and powerful oz! in actuality, he should thank the press and the media for all the free air time he got during his campaign..now we have to worry about the mass quantities of tweets and insane statements he makes,and that little thing about having the nuclear codes at his disposal!

  9. Johnny five says:

    Finally a President with some balls.

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