The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

When President Donald Trump called in this morning to his favorite program, the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends, it seemed inevitable that sooner or later the conversation would turn to the president’s virulent hatred for journalists. Trump spent much of his presidential campaign and presidency thus far embroiled in an ongoing war against what he terms the “fake news” media, and indeed today’s interview featured several such attacks, with the president calling out NBC’s Chuck Todd by name. But the president also confirmed that his criticisms of the press aren’t merely a sign that he hates public criticism — they’re a deliberate strategy intended to convince his supporters not to believe critical information about him.

During a long tangent about his 2016 Electoral College victory, Trump portrayed media coverage that suggested he had a low chance of winning as an effort to “suppress the vote,” designed to trick the viewers into not voting because they would assume it was futile. “They don’t know it’s fake news,” the president said of his supporters. “I have taught them it is fake news.”

I have taught them it is fake news.

Trump is correct. While his attacks build on a decades-long conservative campaign to undermine the news media, his ferocious, unending feud has triggered a noticeable dip in support for the press among Republicans since the beginning of the presidential campaign. He is trying — and succeeding — in keeping his supporters from accepting bad news about his presidency.

Delegitimizing alternative sources of information is a necessary step for a president and administration that constantly lie, have a wildly unpopular agenda, and are embroiled in a host of corruption scandals. If Trump’s supporters come to trust reality over the president’s words, he’s toast.

Throughout the interview, Trump divided up the press into two factions. On one side, there’s ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and the rest of the mainstream media, whom he described as “fake news” outlets that are conspiring against him. On the other side, there’s Fox, which he described as “tough” but “fair.” “In all fairness to Fox,” Trump said, “you guys don’t always treat me great. You treat me fairly.”

If Fox — a network known for its sycophantic Trump defenses — becomes the standard for tough coverage, the president knows he has nothing to worry about. That’s what this whole campaign against mainstream media has been about.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Pat McCrory

Youtube Screenshot

If former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is any indication, the GOP primary wounds wrought in the last several months stand a good chance of bleeding into the general election this fall.

McCrory, who lost his bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for the Tar Heel State's open Senate seat, declined to endorse his GOP rival, Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee.

Keep reading... Show less

Dr. Mehmet Oz

Youtube Screenshot

Senate candidate Mehmet Oz thanked Fox News host Sean Hannity for advising him “behind the scenes,” helping to bring him to the cusp of a potential victory in Tuesday night’s primary in Pennsylvania — a revelation that further illustrates Hannity’s position as a Republican operative who leverages his media presence for political influence.

The Republican primary race could potentially go to a recount, with Oz currently ahead of former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick by a slender margin. The winner will face Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won his primary by a landslide. During a speech on Tuesday night, Oz first thanked his wife, his children, and his campaign staff and then called out two key political figures who endorsed him and advised him throughout the campaign: former President Donald Trump and Hannity.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}