The War for the Narrative
On Friday, February 24, President Donald Trump took a victory lap at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) during his valedictory address. He catered to his base, vowing to keep the media honest and to uphold other campaign promises like job creation and deregulation in the banking and energy sectors.
But it all comes back to America first. “Global cooperation, dealing with other countries, getting along with other countries is good, it's very important. But there is no such thing as a global anthem, a global currency or a global flag. This is the United States of America that I'm representing,” Trump said to raucous applause at CPAC, outside of Washington. “I'm not representing the globe,” he said. “I'm representing your country.”
Most importantly, he is representing and speaking for the people. While the media, is, according to Trump, the “enemy of the people.” At this same speech, Trump suggested banning anonymous sources, which would’ve quashed a nine-source story in The Washington Post that detailed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s discussions with Russia. This is not a threat to the First Amendment. This is Trump taking on the Deep State riddled with CIA, NSA, and other unelected bureaucrats. But another article on that for another time.
For now, President Trump is taking control of his own narrative, setting his own agenda as opposed to it being driven by a failing mainstream media. When journalists behave like partisan hacks, the president will treat them as such. While the media and Democrats cry of a rough start to the Trump administration, the president dismisses this notion and speaks directly to the people.
The mainstream media narrative has depicted a White House in chaos and a president in over his head. However, the media based on the coasts do not speak for the people and regularly distort reality. They speak for the special interests that own them (6 mega-corporations now own 90% of all media we now take in) and profit off of overhyping every little story and amplifying existing political or cultural divisions, all in the name of ratings.
Trump declared war on the media in a marathon one-on-one press conference earlier this month with reporters. He bluntly stated: “We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.” He called them out to their faces. How did they respond?
Many still have little respect for the president. They continued to call him “unhinged” and a threat to the First Amendment. They have learned nothing and will lose a fight with the Donald, the quintessential marketing man of the 21st century. The president is free to speak his mind as are all Americans, the press tends to forget.
As Michael Goodwin pointed out in the New York Post recently, “He’s free, like all Americans, to speak his mind. His words carry more weight as president, but attempts to silence him are truly un-American. The White House is not a coddled college safe space.”
Yet, the media remains obsessed with our current Commander in Chief. President Trump's press conference was the most analyzed of its kind. And it wasn't even close. Cable news went wall-to wall on the topic for nearly 24 straight hours.
The Real Fake News
The accusations of fake news are now valid to throw at many mainstream media news sites that put out stories that are simply hit pieces on the president. These “stories” greatly distort reality and spin the truth. And social media is a cesspool of manipulation and fake news on steroids.
Millennials who get their news on Facebook or Twitter need to realize that they are the epitome of fake news. These tech companies are in bed with the Democratic Party and are lying to you in many ways and suppressing many stories, further targeting you in frightening ways.
This obsession over fake news from Russian propagandists from my friends on the Left is unwarranted and an attempt to disguise the real truth about fake news. According to researchers from Stanford and NYU, fake news did not alter the 2016 election results. Still, sites like Facebook and Snapchat continue to make moves to eliminate fake news, which could very easily stretch into suppression of opposing views. It's actually already happening. Furthermore, Twitter bans any voice on their site they find, “triggering.”
The study concluded that most voters were fully capable of deciphering real news from fake news. “In summary, our data suggest that social media were not the most important source of election news, and even the most widely circulated fake news stories were seen by only a small fraction of Americans,” the researchers declared. Let’s look to where the real fake news is coming from.
Jeff Bezos-owned The Washington Post is the real fake news, according to The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald. The publication has become increasingly combative in the political arena since the Amazon CEO purchased the paper. Greenwald declared them fake news because the paper has deceived the public on Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election.
“In the aftermath of HRC’s loss in November 2016, the WaPo published two articles,” Greenwald began, “one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of ‘fake news,’ the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false.” This is why Trump calls out the media and constantly labels them “dishonest.” This kind of reporting is irresponsible and misinforms the public. Both of these articles had embarrassing retractions after. Yet, one was two weeks late and the other was buried and barely seen.
These fake news stories from our formerly trusted news sources have been discussed at length and have fit into the overarching narrative crafted by, according to Trump, the American people’s enemy, the media, especially on the Left Coast and East Coast. The news that is not fact checked or vetted has poisoned our political discourse to the point that we are yelling at each other and bringing up politics far too often in everyday life, never pausing to think about anything but politics.
Little does the American electorate know that The Washington Post actually receives money from the Russian government. In mid-February, Tucker Carlson on Fox News interviewed The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple and brought up the fact that the paper regularly receives money from the Russian government to publish propaganda known as “native advertising” within the contents of the newspaper. This is truly troubling and should be mentioned and remembered any time the paper is accusing the current president of ties to Russia.
This is from Carlson’s publication, The Daily Caller, a 2015 article on China and Russia paying The Washington Post for propaganda:
“Chinese and Russian propaganda supplements are regularly included in The Washington Post, but the widely read newspaper won’t say how much money it gets on the deals.
China Watch – a China Daily publication – and Russia Beyond The Headlines – a Rossiyskaya Gazeta publication – have both appeared in the Post for years as paid advertising supplements. Both foreign periodicals are owned and operated by their respective governments.
The Russia Beyond The Headlines material has appeared in other major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.”
Still, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and apparently The Wall Street Journal as well, continue to attempt to discredit alternative news sources, especially anything pro-liberty, anti-government, or pro-Trump. If you are not one of the major sites, you are probably doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, just as Donald Trump was, according to these fake news sites that have thrown fact checking out the window. Amazingly, it is The Washington Post that is actually the dishonest and hypocritical actor in this tragedy, as they are the publication that is receiving money directly from the Chinese and Russian governments and going one step further by publishing propaganda in their pages!
Out of Touch, Out of Excuses
With one tweet, sent out after President Trump’s press conference aggressively confronting the media, NBC’s Chuck Todd revealed how out of touch the mainstream media truly is with the rest of the country. “This not a laughing matter. I'm sorry, delegitimizing the press is unAmerican, Todd tweeted.” Tell me, Mr. Todd, how exactly is he delegitimizing the press when he is trying to hold them accountable when they have gone astray? The press still hasn’t realized what Mr. Trump has done to them. Or how much they have lost the trust of much of the country.
Todd tweeted later that day: “Press bashing may feel good to folks but when it's done by people in power, it's corrosive. Take off your partisan hats for a second.” Ironic that the ever Obama-defending Chuck Todd is now telling us to take our partisan hats off. Here’s my message to Chuck: Stop attacking the president, stop being butthurtt, and do your job.
And why should the people listen to someone like Chuck Todd these days when the most recent Gallup poll shows that only 32% of Americans have much trust and confidence in the mass media when it comes to “reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” Before the Reagan Revolution, in 1976, the same poll detailed that 72% of Americans, well over twice as many as today, fully trusted the media.
Today, a majority of Democrats, 51%, still have a “great/fair amount of trust” in the dying mainstream media, while barely any Republicans, only 14%, trust the media. Most interesting is the fact that only 30% of independents, the fastest-growing political group in America, trust the mainstream media anymore. Not only are independents the fastest growing group of voters in the U.S., but according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, “more Americans are registered as independents” than as Republicans or Democrats.
The mainstream media have delegitimized themselves. Republicans and independents watched for eight long years as Todd and others of his ilk did their best to help and support the previous administration. They not only refused to hold President Obama to account, the way they are imploring to do with Trump, but they went a step further and provided cover for him whenever they could. The media constantly framed Obama as the reasonable one while Republicans were just “intransigent” jerks who didn’t want Obama to succeed. Today, they are trying to do the same with Trump. Well, now Republicans have the power. Are they still the intransigent ones? And will Democrats be more than just the anti-Trump party?
CBS’ John Dickerson sees what’s really happening. On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Dickerson responded to the mainstream media falling out of touch with the rest of the country it is broadcasting to, saying, “and it’s not because of anything obviously Donald Trump did. The press did all that good work ruining its reputation on its own, and we can have a long conversation about what created that. Part of it, though, is what you mentioned about the local weather report, which is to say a lot of hysterical coverage about every little last thing that doesn’t warrant it,” Dickerson said. The media has brought the skepticism that will come their way upon themselves due to their shoddy and subjective reporting over the years, especially in campaign years.
Trump’s February slam speech combatting the media was seen in different ways depending on where you stand, either politically or geographically.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza described it as “an hour-long, full-throated attack on Trump's favorite foil: the media.” He went on to decry it as a throwback to the 2016 campaign theme of creating a circuslike atmosphere in which he attacks the media and the Democratic Party in order to gain more ground amongst his base. Well, Chris, that circus took him all the way to the White House. So, why should he deviate too far from what works? Well, it remains to be seen whether Trump’s campaign-style will translate into success in the White House.
The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin, on the other hand, showed how the speech played differently from what Cillizza and the mainstream media on the West and East Coasts saw. Trump took center stage to declare that reports of his demise are just more fake news, again, taking control of his own narrative, in a presidency that is now barely over a month old.
“His Thursday press conference was a must-see-TV spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with standup comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite piñata, the ‘dishonest media,’” Goodwin wrote. Trump’s critics will miss what he is doing in their obsession over his language and accusedly outlandish actions. They simply don’t understand Trump’s appeal and are blinded by their hatred of him and shock over his victory and all the change that they are now experiencing. Hey media, it’s called upending the status quo. It’s what many Americans voted for last November.
The Opposition Party
The Left’s favorite boogeyman of late, Steve Bannon commented on the Left’s close ties with the media when he said that, “The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign. Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” Many of these liberals are still not accepting their defeat in November and many did contribute financially to Mrs. Clinton’s election campaign, yet they continued writing, claiming to be objective when they were anything but.
“You're the opposition party,” Mr. Bannon said, referring to the media. “Not the Democratic Party. You're the opposition party. The media's the opposition party.”
Perhaps Trump and Bannon see the formerly trusted mainstream media such as The New York Times and CNN as the opposition party because they are doing everything in their power to delegitimize the current president, making up anything that sounds plausible and passing it along as “news” in the process. Late on Friday, February 17, Don Lemon abruptly ended his panel segment on CNN Tonight after one of the panelists continued to express objections to “fake news” coverage.
Lemon was leading a discussion about the costs of protecting the First Family, between Melania Trump currently residing in New York and President Trump‘s weekend visits to Mar-a-Lago, something very few Americans actually care about. Maria Cardona and Karine Jean-Pierre said this is hypocritical because of Trump’s past criticisms of Barack Obama. This tired old thing again. Republicans are pissed when Obama goes golfing now Democrats are up in arms about Trump going to Florida and hitting the links down there in his early presidency. Come on, now! We have important issues to discuss.
Lemon would not have it though. The host went to Paris Dennard, a GOP political commentator, for his take. Dennard, interestingly, was praised by Trump recently. The president said Dennard has done “an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community.” Lemon did not take this lying down when Dennard came at him with the “fake news” accusations.
Dennard told Lemon, “I think this is fake news. This is not a news story.” This is true in that only the left-leaning media cares about this story and the fact that it is only being discussed to bring down the president. Lemon lost it after this and asked Dennard if he knew the definition of fake news. To which, Dennard responded, “What we’re doing right now.”
Lemon countered by saying that fake news is about intentionally deceiving people, and while there are a lot of mistakes in the press, he knows of no one who would put out a story to intentionally deceive the public. Nice try. A decent description, but no one is buying it. Lemon still defended covering this story, saying it is not fake. After Dennard reiterated his belief that it was, Lemon immediately cut him off, abruptly ending the show. Opposing viewpoints be damned! Don’t discuss why he thinks it’s fake news. Just dismiss him outright and move on.
Hearing About a Nightmare
CNN once used to be a respectable organization. The leading cable news channel for some time until Fox News came around and took the right half of the country, it had hosts you could trust to be objective. Now, we have Don Lemon and Jake Tapper showing how openly partisan they are. But, the lefty partisan that takes the cake on this network is former Obama Special Advisor for “Green Jobs,” Van Jones.
An African American, Jones called the electoral victory by Mr. Trump last November, a “nightmare,” and something very difficult for parents to explain to their children. This just goes to show how out of touch with reality entitled media voices like Jones are with the rest of the country and how in love they are with their own hyperbole. Trump won due to much of this country being fed up with this kind of demeaning and dismissive attitude from a largely out-of-touch mainstream media clustered in Washington DC and New York.
Jones said on CNN, “People have talked about a miracle ― I’m hearing about a nightmare. It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome, and you have people putting children to bed tonight and they’re afraid of breakfast.” Are they afraid of breakfast? Are they really? Or have you and other networks like yours whipped up half of the country into thinking the worst about a person that the other half of the country is pretty excited about? You might be afraid because you fear change and Trump is going to hold you accountable for the “news” you put out. The rest of America is waking up and looking for other news sources. Maybe that is the “nightmare,” Mr. Jones was alluding to.
According to the latest Fox News poll, slightly more voters find Trump’s White House more truthful than the media. Unsurprisingly, most feel the press has been much tougher on President Trump so far than they were on Obama. Still, a majority believes that aggressive coverage of the presidency is a net positive for the country. However, by a 45-42 majority, more voters say they trust the Trump administration to “tell the public the truth” as opposed to reporters who cover the White House. Ten percent of voters did not trust either. This number should be higher.
Will Trump be successful in waging his war against the dishonest mainstream media? Or will the media prevail in depicting the president as a threat to the First Amendment and whip up support for impeachment proceedings? They were not able to stop his rise to the top of the Republican Party or to the presidency, what makes any sane person think the media will have any chance of stopping the Trump Train now?
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on February 26, 2017:
"Fox News came around and took the right half of the country, it had hosts you could trust to be objective." No. You could trust them to only tell you what you wanted to hear. The news is often bad news, upsetting, stuff you disagree with. It's not just hearing stuff that confirms what you already believe.
Suzie from Carson City on February 25, 2017:
Bravo!! Superb article. Your in-depth, accurate research & fact-finding is to be commended. Much more truthful information like what you have presented is so necessary. It's clearly vital that more and more individuals speak out as you have.
I will do my part in spreading your work to all of my connections. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this excellent work.!
Again, I applaud you! Paula
Ken Burgess from Florida on February 25, 2017:
Well done, worth the read.