I love the tabloid style headlines.  Get used to it.

All day long, I kept hearing all about Trump “destroying” the media in his glorious press conference. I thought, “Eh, okay. Let’s see.”  Then I noticed it was over an hour long and wondered why I should put more time into watching Trump speak than he spends preparing to speak.

Anyhow, I carved out some time for this evening after I ran out of booze and sat through it.  True to form, the President said a lot of things that aren’t true (e.g. “biggest electoral college win since Reagan”), rambled in his campaign speech style rather than the polished TV’s Donald Trump of his pre-presidential career, and dropped some of the usual braggadocio that would be considered excessive on a rap album.

As always, the press couldn’t jump on his statements quickly enough.  Thing is that I’ve watched this play out repeatedly over the last year and a half and it always ends the same way.  His fans forget, forgive, and manage to ignore the untruths and rambling because they somehow can find something within it that enough of them already agree with to give him a pass.  Even people who get all of their news from the networks and the newspapers don’t believe in them as fervently as many people believe in Trump, whether he’s right or not.

Am I smarter than the average Trump supporter?  Hell, no.  But, you know, I am fairly knowledgeable in the ways of manipulative bastards and I know one when I see one. I will never trust Trump, but I do respect that he knows what he’s doing far better than his critics give him credit for.

I don’t really like Trump very much either but I have to say that the hype around this press conference was true.  Once again, Trump trashed an entire roomful of worthless people who insist on telling us that they are smarter than everyone else and that they alone deserve the right to form the opinions of the public.  Trump keeps telling them that what they think of themselves is actually true of him instead and it drives them berserk when a larger and larger share of the public tunes them out and proves him right.

Is he actually right? Well…I think Trump is very smart, truly.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I think he’s right.  I’m leery of him and have as many questions about his competence and fitness for office as most Democrats.

That said, I have absolutely no confidence in the press and actively despise it.  I have nothing but the worst sort of contempt for the news media and all of its arrogance and dishonesty.  Trump always scores points with me by calling out their partisanship, blunting their questions with simple and yet comical retorts, and even flat out telling them to sit down and shut up.

I’m in that 55% approval rating group he cites in the press conference, you know.  Much of it is because I like his moves on immigration, nomination of Gorsuch, and efforts to tame the bureaucratic class.  But of course I’d be lying to you if I denied that it has a lot to do with how he says all of the things to this country’s many domestic cancers–like the press–that I have always wished a Republican president would say.

That’s rotten, I admit it, but there are two truths I would like you to acknowledge before you judge me.  First, the press absolutely deserves it.  For their declining ratings and historically low levels of trust, they have absolutely nobody to blame but themselves.  Their credibility problem started long before Trump and will persist long after him if they don’t change their ways.  If you don’t understand why, you really should just ask any Republican in your life and let them speak without interrupting or arguing.  They’ll gladly tell you.

Second, I recognize that Trump is so effective at challenging the media on its own terms because he is a creature of the media.  He’s been in its spotlight as long as I can remember.  Trump doesn’t care if they hate him or not, as long as they’re talking about him.  It’s like he’s content to use them to boost his brand and unwittingly carry his message even if they individually are worthless to his goals (and in general).

It’s because Trump is a byproduct of our toxic media culture that I can’t bring myself to trust him, but I also recognize that only someone who knows the anatomy of the beast knows where to strike it; and I am thoroughly enjoying the show.

As Trump performances go, I give this one a 7/10.

2 comments

  1. I like a lot of this, though I may quibble with some minor points that I won’t itemize. I thought it was a fantastic press conference–truly interesting and entertaining, and a lot of news made. All day I have been astounded at the reaction in the DC press and blue check types, just how far off my own perception of the press conference and the numerous items it covered is from theirs. It just highlighted for me how divided our country is right now.

    I know there are things Trump said in the conference that were exaggerations, or imprecise. That’s how he communicates, and he clearly is just not set up to think and speak in details, and has a tendency to repeat things he’s been told but with much precision lost in the process. Like when he was talking about his victory (supposed biggest electoral victory since Reagan), it was clearly exaggerated (he limited the time only to very recent history) and incorrect (Obama and Clinton got more EVs than he), even after he clarified he meant (though didn’t say) to only include GOP Presidents (H.W. Bush got 426 EVs in ’88). It’s not so much that I give him a pass on that stuff–I don’t. I just recognize that quibbling over that fact is unimportant (and I have to wonder if Trump does this on purpose to keep the chatter about pointless lies like this rather than the things he is actually doing).

    The press conference was very refreshing. It was awesome to see the press put in its place, and their overreactions both at the conference and in the day afterward validate Trump’s posture towards them. They also don’t seem to recognize that, as Trump pointed out, their approval rating is lower than Congress’ for a reason. So he tends to emerge from these scuffles having gained politically while the credibility of the press continues to deteriorate.

  2. Don’t get me wrong: I think this was a successful press conference for what Trump was trying to accomplish. He is brilliant and anyone who thinks otherwise is never going to be able to understand what’s going on for the next four to eight years.

    One observation I’ve made since posting this is that Trump uses his “word salad” when he’s speaking to the American people. When he’s speaking directly to the press, he uses humor and goes into “Entertainer Mode.” Campaign Speech Trump is not the same as Apprentice Trump. Apprentice Trump is the one who speaks to the media as one who is comfortable with it. I much prefer Apprentice Trump and it puts me off that he insists on speaking to me as Campaign Speech Trump.

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