What a difference an election makes.
No one in Washington had ever seen anything like the press conference President Donald John Trump held on Thursday, Feb. 16.
The media should have been delighted. Journalists complain constantly about a lack of access. Here was more access than many of them had ever dreamed of.
Maybe some fact checker will check this fact, but my guess is that Trump answered more questions from the press in one press conference than Obama answered in a year.
Obama not only called on reporters who had agreed to ask questions the White House wanted to answer, he was the master of the stall. He would talk and talk about one question – the one that had been planted and the one that he had notes to answer.
The trick was that he took so long answering the planted questions that there was no time to answer more than one or two real questions that weren’t planted, but were asked by liberal media reporters who worshipped the ground Obama walked on.
The mainstream media loved Obama. A really tough question at an Obama press conference would be, “What enchants you about being president?” Then Obama would launch into a 20-minute speech on all the wonderful things he had been able to do as president. After that Obama would look over at an aide and say, I only have time for one more question, and call on another Obama sycophant – and there were plenty to choose from.
What Trump did was listen to their questions – because he didn’t have them ahead of time – and then he answered them.
The mainstream media are killing themselves. People already are distrustful of the media. Close to half the people who voted in November voted for Trump. These people are already alienated. They believe what Trump says about the mainstream media, which is good because it’s true.
Newspaper circulation is down and dropping. Why pay all that money to subscribe to The New York Times when the editors admit that for Trump they threw even the pretense of being unbiased out the window.
There is a reason why Fox News is the most popular news on the air. The rest of the mainstream media claim Fox is extremely biased and untrustworthy, but the people watching Fox are watching it because they think there is a much better chance they will get the real news than if they watched one of the other networks that did nothing but praise Obama and now do nothing but bash Trump.
What the mainstream media should be doing is creating some diversity of thought in their newsrooms. The mainstream media should be out beating the bushes looking for reporters who voted for Trump. One of their big problems is not simply that they don’t have a single working journalist who voted for Trump, most of their journalists probably don’t have a single friend who voted for Trump. They think that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist and an idiot.
The problem they have is that makes about half the country racists and idiots.
Where in the Constitution does it say that a president, or anyone else for that matter, can’t be highly critical of the media? The answer is, of course, that it doesn’t. The Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Presidents throughout history have been extremely critical of the press, going back to our first president, George Washington, who, in explaining why he didn’t choose to serve a third term, said he was “disinclined to be longer buffeted in the public prints by a set of infamous scribblers.”
Thomas Jefferson said, “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”
President Trump spent a good bit of his time at his press conference on Feb. 16 berating the press and certain media outlets such as CNN for fake news, or as he amended that for CNN, “very fake news.”
Trump is right. The left-wing media – aka the mainstream media – invented the term fake news, something that now they should regret because, as Trump points out, so much of what they report about him simply isn’t true.
For example, it isn’t true that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, criticized Trump for attacking the judiciary. The transcript of the interview where that supposedly happened is available and Gorsuch made a point not to say anything about the man who nominated him to the Supreme Court. He instead made a very general statement about people who attack judges, which is far different from attacking Trump.
As Trump said repeatedly, National Security Advisor Mike Flynn did nothing wrong in his actions concerning Russia; what he did do wrong was mislead Vice President Mike Pence about those discussions.
The idea that Flynn wasn’t supposed to talk to anyone representing any foreign government until after Trump was inaugurated is absurd. Everybody except diehard Hillary Clinton supporters, which includes the mainstream media who were hoping for some miracle, knew that on Jan. 20 Barack Obama would no longer be president and Donald Trump would be president. The incoming president has a duty and responsibility to hit the ground running on Jan. 20.
As Trump said, he didn’t tell Flynn to call the Russian ambassador, but if had found out Flynn had not, he would have told him to do so. It’s the logical thing for an incoming national security advisor to do and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Flynn reminding the Russian ambassador that on Jan. 20 the US would have a new president with a very different take on foreign relations.
Trump has been hampered in his efforts to get his administration in place by the Democrats in the Senate, who are delaying his cabinet appointments as much as possible.
It is certainly the Democrats right to do so. Trump’s appointments have to be confirmed by the Senate, and the Senate Democrats have the power to delay, but the normal procedure for presidential appointments is to give the president most of the appointments without much opposition.
In the normal course of events the opposition party will pick a couple to make a big fuss over, but with Trump, the Democrats are going all out against Trump’s appointments because he is appointing outsiders and conservative Republicans, and they don’t like it.
If Trump had chosen to appoint Republicans like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who appear to be Republicans out of habit rather than out of political philosophy, the Democrats would probably vote for them unanimously. Of course, those two might have trouble getting enough Republican votes to be confirmed.
In fact, that might not have been a bad move for Trump. He could have gotten McCain to resign from the Senate to take the job of, say, secretary of defense, and then a week or two later fired McCain and sent him back to Arizona.
Or he could have appointed Graham as secretary of state and then treated him the way Obama treated Hillary Clinton and not even told him when cabinet meetings were being held.
It makes you wonder if the mainstream media read their own stuff. Less than a month into his presidency, The Washington Post is already running big articles about how much Trump is costing the country for security because Melania Trump is living in New York until their son Barron finishes the school year, that Trump’s sons who run an international corporation travel a lot internationally, (which evidently is a real shocker to the mainstream media) and that Trump himself likes to spend weekends at his resort in Florida.
The mainstream media had no problem with Michelle Obama taking friends and family on a trip to Spain at government expense. Nor did they have a problem when Michelle Obama wanted to leave for vacation a couple of hours earlier than the president, so they took separate planes. Nor did they have a problem with Michelle taking the girls skiing while the president went for a weekend of golf with friends. Wouldn’t it have been interesting for the mainstream media to make a big deal about how much more expensive it was for the Obamas to go on separate vacations?
And there is a huge difference between inviting the prime minister of Japan for a weekend of golf and going out and playing a couple of rounds with friends.
The Obamas have been praised by the mainstream media for deciding to stay in Washington until Sasha graduates from high school. By the same token, the Trumps are being criticized repeatedly for deciding to let their son Barron finish out the school year in New York.
It kind of makes you think it’s not what they are doing but who is doing it that matters.
The Republican Party has long been called the Stupid Party because it so many times has managed to snap defeat from the jaws of victory.
One of the huge mistakes Republicans have made over the years is to be conciliatory toward the media, which are overwhelmingly made up of liberal Democrats. The belief among Republican leaders seemed to be that they could mollify the media by being nice and appearing to agree with them.
Trump has taken the opposite tack. He openly and vigorously attacks the media at every opportunity. Other Republicans might want to note that Trump won the presidency largely without the support of mainstream Republicans. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan gave Trump at best lukewarm support, and it might better be characterized as luke-cold support. Ryan is one of those who thinks if he is nice that the media will be nice to him. So far that really hasn’t worked for him.
Rather than always being on the defensive with the media, the Republicans should follow the lead of their elected president and go on an all out offensive against the media. What do they have to lose? They can’t get any worse press and the public loves it when Trump attacks the media.
The mainstream media deserve to be attacked, and Republicans should join forces in an all out offensive. However, most Republicans in Washington may be conservative but they are still part of the Washington establishment and can’t see beyond the Beltway. It’s really too bad. Congress needs to get on board with Trump, but it appears they are far too timid.
Trump does have a huge advantage over most politicians when it comes to dealing with the mainstream media. The media need him, but he doesn’t need them, which is the opposite of how it normally works.
There was a reason why Trump was always on the network shows, often by phone, and it had nothing to do with what the networks thought of Trump, how they thought he would do or what they thought the American people needed to know. Like everything on network news, it had to do with money.
The networks had Trump on every time he called because their ratings went up when they had Trump on the air.
Much has been made of Trump saying at his press conference that he won more electoral votes than any presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan. This clearly is not true because he didn’t win more than Barack Obama, so how could he say such a thing? I believe he simply left out “Republican” in his statement. What it appears he meant to say was that he won more Electoral College votes than any Republican since Reagan.
George W. Bush won in 2000 with 271 electoral votes and lost the popular vote to Al Gore. In 2004, Bush won with 286 electoral votes and won a majority of the popular vote. If you simply add Republican to Trump’s statement, he’s right.
But Trump can count and he knows that 365 electoral votes, which is what Obama had in 2008 running against McCain, is more than 304. Obama won with 332 electoral votes in 2012 against Mitt Romney.
Other politicians are allowed to amend their remarks when they misspeak. Or, to be more accurate, Democrats are allowed to amend their remarks. But the mainstream media are not going to consider the fact that Trump could leave a word out of a sentence.
Obama once said that there were 57 states, but the mainstream media let it slide because Obama is a Democrat. The conservative websites had a lot of fun with it, but they weren’t on national television.
Last weekend Trump did what all recent presidents have done, which is hold a campaign-type rally. For some reason this is considered by the mainstream media to be a sign that his presidency is already failing.
However, Obama did it all the time, and when he did it, campaign-type rallies were considered a good thing. For Obama it meant the president was getting out of Washington and talking directly to the people who supported him.
But Trump evidently is not supposed to do that.
The mainstream media are also critical of Trump for going to Mar Largo in Florida, which he owns. Trump owns a number of vacation homes. Is he supposed to do like Obama did and find some supporter who will give him a sweet deal on a vacation rental? What sense would that make? Of course Trump is going to spend time at the homes he owns. It’s hard to find anything wrong with it, but the mainstream media have.
When Clinton was president, he didn’t own a home, period, and being Bill Clinton, they focused-grouped the most popular places for him to go on vacation. The Obama’s did own a home in Chicago, but not many folks want to vacation in Chicago, especially in the winter. Given the choice of a free flight to Hawaii or a free flight to Chicago in December, who would choose Chicago?
The mainstream media – which these days represent the liberal arm of the Democratic Party – is now critical of Trump because in his first month in office he hasn’t accomplished everything he said he would do during his campaign. They also criticize him for not having his cabinet in place, and it is apparently a disaster that he has already fired his national security advisor.
It took Clinton three tries to get an attorney general through the nomination process, and when he did he ended up with Janet Reno, who was highly underqualified for the job.
Obama signed an executive order on his Inauguration Day to close down the Guantanamo Detention Center, and when he left office eight years later it was still open.
It is true that Trump has not repealed Obamacare or built the wall, but he has only been in office a month. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a wall on the Mexican border can’t be built in a month.
Obamacare was passed in 2009; it can’t just go away overnight, leaving millions without health care. Trump said he would abolish it but he didn’t say he would abolish it before he learned his way around the White House.
Before long the mainstream media are going to be going nuts over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has grown to a behemoth that tries to control every aspect of life on earth.
The EPA has over 15,000 employees. Scott Pruitt, the new EPA administrator, can’t fire most of those employees because they are civil servants; but jobs can be eliminated. It will be surprising if the EPA workforce isn’t cut in half or even more. This will raise howls of protest from the mainstream media, but it will be of tremendous help to industry.
Before the recent controversy I didn’t have much of an opinion about Breitbart Technical Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, except that he had a last name I couldn’t begin to figure out how to pronounce.
He is an flamboyantly gay conservative, which the mainstream media found bizarre and had trouble dealing with. Actually gay conservatives are not nearly as unusual as the mainstream media believe. The stodgy old Guilford County Republican Party had a gay chairman a few years ago and nobody said much about it.
But because he is gay, Milo got away with making outrageously politically incorrect statements. He could do it because of the code of the mainstream media: Anyone who is critical of a black Democrat is racist, anyone who disagrees with a liberal woman is a misogynist and anyone who says anything that is not praise about a member of the LGBTQ community is a homophobe. So Milo could say what he wanted and didn’t get ostracized, except he was still in trouble for being a conservative, which is why Berkley students rioted when he was scheduled to speak.
But the protection for gay men only goes so far, and when Milo advocated for relationships between young teenaged boys and older gay men, he went too far. It’s the problem with being a professional provocateur. You have to keep saying more and more outrageous things or you’re not a provocateur anymore.
Now Milo is trying to walk it back, but I listened to the interview and he said too much, too many times. One sentence you can walk back, but not an entire diatribe about the sexual experiences of your youth and how an older man may be the only loving relationship a young man has.
From watching the interview I came away thinking that Milo believes what he said about relationships between 13- or 14-year-old boys and older men. It was pointed out to him that sex between adults and children is illegal, which is when Milo said he was opposed to pedophilia and noted that that wasn’t what he was talking about, but it is still illegal whether it is pedophilia or simply taking advantage of a 14-year-old boy.