CNN has been our president’s biggest enemy. Every other day, he complains about all of the “fake news” the cable news channel distributes, though he never identifies which stories are “fake”. Just past your window, there is a tumultuous sea of Trumpkins, accepting the president’s words as gospel. These people watch Fox, a news channel that presents news stories through a conservative lens. The irony here is stupendous.
Clearly, the appeal of Fox, is that the channel’s content makes their viewers feel good. Instead of finding out what is really going on in the world, they prefer news that may reaffirm their beliefs.
I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I could watch this news channel that confirms everything my pappi taught me. That makes me feel good. At least there is something in this world, that makes me feel smart.
Donald Trump is also riding this gravy train of idiocy. No one condemns CNN more than Trump. Trump insists the channel is a circus of fake news. Yet last Friday, when he needed to push back against Russia’s statements that Trump accepted Putin’s denial that they meddled in our election, he messaged CNN’s Jim Acosta.
There is an enormous contradiction in there somewhere. Why would our president turn to the one source he continually bashes, to spread his thoughts? Especially if you believe the source will mangle a story around and make it fake. That is what CNN does, according to our president. But that is also the media source he chooses.
Trump also bashes The New York Times and The Washington Post, but like CNN, he gives them interviews when there is an important message he needs to promulgate.
There is only one reason that a president fights with the media. Nixon fought with the media because the media published stories he didn’t like.
Nixon’s fight with the media was even more ferocious than Trumps’.
“They actually conducted surveillance. They followed him,” (muckraking syndicated columnist Jack Anderson) “from his work to his house,” Feldstein says. “They staked out his house. They looked at it for vulnerabilities … [and dicussed] how they could plant poison in his aspirin bottle. They talked about how they could spike his drink and they talked about smearing LSD on his steering wheel so that he would absorb it through his skin and die in a hallucination-crazed auto crash.” NPR article
Trump’s battle with the media is not as bad as this. Though Trump’s battle with the media is sort of the fakest story of all. Nixon’s fight with the media was sincere. He wouldn’t give them news breaking tips to help them sell papers. Trump doesn’t really hate CNN, if they are the first ones he shares stories with.
It all goes back to his need to hold on to his supporters. With approval ratings as low as his, Trump needs to maintain the few supporters he has left. Obviously Trump respects CNN, if he considers them most capable of spreading his message, but his supporters don’t. Trump gets the best of both worlds. Appearance is everything.
Smoke and mirrors….