Trump Maintains Momentum Despite Malicious Media

By | 2017-05-22T15:54:15+00:00 May 16th, 2017|
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It’s Tuesday, so it must be time for another look at the News, Fake News, and Very Fake News. As I had occasion to note in March, the “motor of fake news is not inaccuracy. It’s malice.” Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, writes a memo for President Trump outlining the case against former FBI director James Comey. And what a case it was, as Andrew McCarthy noted with his usual clarity.

All that was news: the memo, Trump’s summary sacking of James “No-Reasonable-Prosecutor” Comey.

Like Spring in Shelley’s windy poem, the fake news was not far behind. I was at a conference in Chicago last week when a friend mentioned that it had just been reported that Rosenstein was furious that Trump deployed his memo as the reason to fire Comey and that he was threatening to quit. Yikes!

Except that Rosenstein did not threaten to quit.

So why did The Washington Post report that he did?

The fact that Nixon was forced to resign established a precedent that the media hopes to repeat. “It worked with Nixon,” they say to themselves. “Let’s try it again.”

They just made it up. And they did so out of malice, in an effort to delegitimize Trump.

It’s the same thing we see unfolding with WaPo’s hysterical story yesterday that “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador.” Oh no! “Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State,” the story reported.

Except that it didn’t.

The authors of that mendacious piece of feculent verbiage cite “current and former U.S. officials” (oh, them!) while both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied the story. “I was in the room,” said McMaster tartly, “it didn’t happen.” In case that was not sufficiently clear, he followed up with this: “At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

Tucker Carlson is correct: the media is “stumbling around in a sightless rage” in their coverage of Trump.

I do not remember the coverage of Richard Nixon well enough to say with certainty whether the coverage of Trump is more extreme. I think it may be, if for no other reason than that Nixon was finally forced from office, partly by the unremitting hostility of the media, but also because the Supreme Court forced him to turn over the secret tapes he had made of his Oval Office conversations. The fact that Nixon was forced to resign established a precedent that the media hopes to repeat. “It worked with Nixon,” they say to themselves. “Let’s try it again.”

But there are many differences between the two cases. Nixon, we know, really did engage in a cover up. About Trump we know . . . nothing. If wishes were horses, these pathetic media beggars would ride into town with the revelation that Trump had plotted with Vladimir Putin to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency.

But a suite of intelligence investigations that have been underway for months has revealed . . . yep, nothing again.

The mournful assumption among many of Trump’s supporters is that the frenzy of media hysteria, though almost comically baseless, is nonetheless dangerous because, on the throw-enough-mud-and-some-will-stick principle, it has an abrading, delegitimizing effect, a drip-drip-drip apodosis that is corrosive of trust.

That may very well be the case. But I suspect nonetheless that the primary victim of the malicious static will not be Trump but the media, which has passed from carping hostility to surreal fantasy.

Two things are happening. On the one hand, the media’s credibility has entered a death spiral. On the other hand, Trump keeps chugging along, toting up victories and setbacks, just like every other successful politician known to man.

It is clear to most observers now that the media’s “bombshells” fail to detonate because they are total fabrications. They just make stuff up.

It is clear to most observers now that the media’s “bombshells” fail to detonate because they are total fabrications. They just make stuff up. Does anyone believe Mika Brzezinski when she says that Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway secretly hates Trump? “This is a woman . . . who came on our show during the campaign and would shill for Trump in extensive fashion. And then she would get off the air, the camera would be turned off, the microphone would be taken off and she would say, ‘Blech, I need to take a shower,’ because she disliked her candidate so much.” I guess this is the next step in the “sources say” wheeze. Invite a candidate’s spokesman onto your TV show and then claim she said all sorts of untoward things when the cameras were off. What are the ethics of that? And what will the fallout be? Would you agree to be interviewed by someone who violated basic journalistic etiquette so brazenly?

But as the media continue their Mexican-jumping-bean hysteria, Donald Trump is nominating justices and federal judges, rolling back business-blighting regulation, outlining an ambitious tax cut, working to unmake Obamacare, bringing the fight to ISIS, enforcing the country’s immigration laws, etc., etc.

We haven’t got everything we want, but when has that ever happened in this sublunary world? Before the election, plenty of conservatives I know said “If Trump wins, his administration will ipso facto be a success because Hillary Clinton, the most corrupt candidate in history, will not be president.” There’s a lot to that, I think.

But then came Neil Gorsuch. “The main reason to hope Donald Trump wins is to the save the Supreme Court from the Left.” Well, that happened, too.

Then there are the scores of federal judges. “The reason to hope that Hillary does not become president is to save the country from a further corruption of the judiciary.” Check.

Donald Trump has already delivered on many of his campaign promises. There will be more to come. There will also be disappointments. Ronald Reagan came to town promising to shrink the size of government, cut taxes, and battle the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union. He managed numbers two and three, but had to take a pass on number one. Most observers, even many Democrats, now judge the Reagan presidency a conspicuous success. That’s what the beneficent wisdom of hindsight can accomplish.

Will we look back with similar feelings about the Trump era? It will all turn, I think, on the issue of economic growth. As I’ve had occasion to observe in this space before, if he manages the magic number of three percent growth, it will be sunlit uplands as far as the eye can see, especially if that rising tide lifts the dinghies of the blue-collar class.

“If” is one of those treacherous words, I know, but I think that there are plenty of reasons for confidence. And at that point the great media hysteria of 2017 will seem not only hysterical, not only sad, but also disfiguringly repellent.

About the Author:

Roger Kimball
Roger Kimball is Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion and President and Publisher of Encounter Books. Mr. Kimball lectures widely and has appeared on national radio and television programs as well as the BBC. He is represented by Writers' Representatives, who can provide details about booking him. Mr. Kimball's latest book is The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine's Press, 2012). He is also the author of The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee). Other titles by Mr. Kimball include The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America (Encounter) and Experiments Against Reality: The Fate of Culture in the Postmodern Age (Ivan R. Dee). Mr. Kimball is also the author ofTenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education (HarperCollins). A new edition of Tenured Radicals, revised and expanded, was published by Ivan R. Dee in 2008. Mr. Kimball is a frequent contributor to many publications here and in England, including The New Criterion, The Times Literary Supplement, Modern Painters, Literary Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Public Interest, Commentary, The Spectator, The New York Times Book Review, The Sunday Telegraph, The American Spectator, The Weekly Standard, National Review, and The National Interest.
  • Party of Lincoln

    It’s a good thing “American Greatness” refuses to be a shill for Trump.

    • Terenc Blakely

      Haters gotta hate.

  • Nuther G. Mule

    Somehow, the press today defines its legitimacy by the mere ability to broadcast (and snivel).

  • jack dobson

    What, exactly, even is the “media” at this point? The carnival barkers on networks and cable who entertain or at least try to do so? “Fake news” isn’t even an apt description for these irrelevant relics. While the non-stop propaganda is creepy, it really is just white noise; most people under 50 don’t even bother to watch let alone read it, and those who are older recognize it is mostly lies. In fact, much of the non-stop lunacy is a last-ditch effort to remain a player. Outside a few D.C. and Manhattan neighborhoods that’s not happening. Digital is the first and last word on anything now.

    Trump still will be president in 2022. It’s unlikely what we formerly knew as “the media” even will be white noise then. I frankly don’t see how the Democrats can survive with their house organs.

    • frdmbased

      Except that what we are seeing is that the hysterical media such as CNN and MSNBC are now 1st and 2nd in the cable news ratings which means there are a lot of people watching.

      • jack dobson

        There are far less people watching linear television now. What are considered decent ratings would have gotten a show yanked just a few years back. CNN and MSNBC are taking away Fox’s audience, I suspect, rather than adding to the cumulative viewership. I do agree the lunacy has reshuffled the deck.

    • paul

      Well said Jack and great article Mr Kimball!!
      I voted for different thinking and I approve of President Trumps actions. All of them!

  • Terenc Blakely

    Mark my words, if the hysteria doesn’t somehow drive Trump out of office, deep state will start fabricating evidence because they fear and loath Trump…. plus they think they can get away with it with the full support of the Democrats and media. We are definitely entering ‘Banana Republic’ politics.

    • jack dobson

      It’s more or less a “Banana Empire” and it’s been that way for some time. Look at the leftist mobs attacking campaign rallies, the extensive spying on Americans, and other outrages. You are correct that something(s) will be fabricated, and it’s a very safe bet assassination has been discussed at the highest levels. Obviously if President Trump is removed under these circumstances the United States government no longer will be legitimate and citizens cannot reasonably be expected to recognize it as such.

      • Terenc Blakely

        Well leftists are masters of projection. They are obsessed with ‘proving’ that every Republican President is ‘illegitimate’ one way or another. As they go farther and farther around the bend all they are doing is proving that they are illegitimate themselves.

        My question is, what do they think will happen if they get rid of Trump?

        • Russell Steadman

          You say Even the majority of people who voted for him, not because they liked him but because he wasn’t Hillary, aren’t going to do nothing...

          You mean they’re ”going to do something”.. We aren’t likely to burn down the crappy neighborhood we dwell in. What else is there to do. We’re a ”law and order” people. If Trump were shot like Reagan was, but killed, Pence would calmly take over . And the Washington Post would high five each other. Their hate is that malignant.

          • jack dobson

            I suspect there would be massive violence if anything happened to Trump, and life in D.C. would be perilous. Trump’s voters don’t have the same fealty to “go along to get along” as past Republicans. The white working class would make the riots after Rev. King was murdered look inconsequential. The government likely would topple.

  • Peter63

    So much of what Roger Kimball here writes is true and encouraging. However I am minded of a phrase of Henry James’s in his story ‘Mora Montravers’ (1909): ‘the drop of a flying-machine into her castle court while she stood on guard at the gate’.

    3% growth – even 10% growth – will not stop the United States from becoming a Third-World country if the chief plank of President Trump’s program as candidate be not very thoroughly enacted and achieved. One of the biggest reasons people voted for him – arguably the biggest – was the hope that he would put an end to all manner of mass immigration, legal and illegal; that the country would be purged of its tens of millions of illegal aliens and a new sensible policy developed for a much restricted legal immigration: that of persons bringing positive value to the USA, not welfare dependency and crime.

    The American economy trembles like a house of cards in a rising wind, owing to the hopeless indebtedness of the government. At any moment it and the world as a whole could enter a slump so gigantic (much the vastest in history) that it would make the 1930s look like merely having one scoop of ice cream rather than two at the end of a large meal.

    Before that collapse can happen it was all-important that ALL the initiatives be taken to clear the immigration decks, including getting the wall built or at least a-building.

    That is not happening; DACA has not been repealed; Chris Kobach or similar has not been made Homeland Security Secretary; left-wing judges are not checked by Congress and are allowed to block the President’s travel restrictions from terrorist-hotbed countries ….

    On this front the current delay, or failure, may be fatal. He who hesitates is lost.

  • I think the role of the un-elected multi-billion dollar media industry in discrediting and undermining a constitutionally elected President of the United States poses a far greater threat than anything the President told the Russian foreign minister. The media will, of course, never run a report headlined “Media threatens America”..

    Besides that – it is the President who has discretion over how he uses his information – not the intelligence community, and certainly not the silly people on television.

  • Panope Vreeland

    Underlying the hysteria is the rounding up of pedophiles across the country Trump’s justice dept. has been doing since day one. Unreported by the mainstream media of course. The Washington establishment, the uniparty, know that that operation is getting close to their own pedophile rings in D.C. and are freaking. Pedophilia is the currency of D.C. Whether on the Satanic ritual side, temptation side, or the extortion side. Hillary’s and Obama’s crimes are also causing some of the freak out. These evil souls will answer to justice, the American people, or inevitably God at some point.

    • paul

      Also under reported is the Seth Rich story and Pres Trumps foreign relations mission.

  • jfhdsiu

    Since everyone KNOWS that the media is out to ruin Trump’s presidency with the help of a whole passle of American hating politicians in the DemoRepublicratcan party they also know it’s NOT working. Trump’s agenda is geared towards making the lives of “We, The people” better and it IS working. Negative rhetoric does nothing more than make the people engaging in the negative rhetoric look like ‘spoiled brats’ who want to ruin EVERY BODY’s day because THEY “didn’t get THEIR way”… Pathetic brats who remind me of nasty minded preschoolers blindly lashing out hoping to score a “hit” on the object of their ire. Why don’t they just hold their breath like other spoiled brats?

  • Russell Steadman

    The “beneficent wisdom of hindsight” reveal Reagan’s success . We are wading through a malarial swamp of cover-up and deception, the media committing false witness dig-in-day-out, and covering up the truth by omitting good news of Trump’s success. This is not what deliverance looks like.

  • Even if President Trump is able to accomplish all the things he’s promised, we must be careful not to get caught up in the euphoria of these accomplishments so as to be blinded to the fact that despite any good he accomplishes while President ALL OF IT can just as easily be undone by a future President and Congress, and inevitably will be. This demonstrates the incredible volatility of the Constitutional Republic based upon man-made traditions. For example,

    “Two people could have walked down any U.S. street in 1930 – one with a bottle of whiskey under his arm and one with a bar of gold in his pocket, and the one with the whiskey would have been a criminal whereas the one with the bar of gold would have been considered a good law abiding citizen. If the same thing happened in any U.S. city in 1970, the one with the whiskey would be the law abiding citizen and the one with the gold bar would be the criminal.” (W.W. Turner, The Amazing Story of the British Sovereign (Nashville, TN: 1970) p. 4)

    Not to mention the fact that the Supreme Court has reversed itself in 219 cases by 2000. Judicial “standards now change as rapidly as the Justices. This causes an uncertainty for society; and, in fact, often establishes a dubious standard which, in effect, is no standard at all.” (David Barton, Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilder Press, 2005) p. 233). Unlike the Bible, the Constitution is not an infallible standard. Returning to a more “pure” constitutionalism is not the answer. The answer is found in returning to Yahweh’s perfect law and altogether righteous judgments.

    As contrasted with Yahweh’s immutable/unchanging moral law as the standard for government and society, there’s no enduring continuity in such capricious traditions. They provide a never-ending cycle that invariably will send America over the precipice. Alleged conservative Presidents like Trump periodically keep other alleged conservatives happy just long enough to keep them from searching for the real solutions for society’s woes.

    For more, see online Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/BlvcOnline/biblelaw-constitutionalism-pt3.html.

    Then find out how much you really know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/ConstitutionSurvey.html and receive a complimentary copy of a book that examines the Constitution by the Bible.

  • Stick

    The Church of Manhattan Media serves it’s master, Manhattan Privilege. To summarize the faith – What’s Good for Manhattan is Good for America. To question this dictum is to risk oneself to Crucifixion. Don’t question your betters.

  • Oh boy, is this the perfect description of the fake news corrupt media and their output: “feculent verbiage.” Then again, that does give feces a bad name.

  • RAM500

    More needs to be done to weed our leftist bureaucrats. They are the friction, if not resistance, in the system. Other than Congress, of course. McCain of Keating Five fame and Corker of Give Iran Cash and Nukes fame are just two of the problem children.

  • vaccinia

    The media are, indeed, repellent creatures. Have been for years…..the Ministry of Truth is designed to deceive and further Prog machinations. This IS it’s only current purpose, Newspeak. Progs, hysterical at having their ivory tower torn from its foundations, are shrieking and starkly raving as though their world is falling apart.

    NEWS BULLETIN! IT IS! Thank god for small favors….

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  • Gregory Alan of Johnson

    When the Council on Foreign Relations continues its role in controlling the MSM, and has for almost a century, they will continue to be against that which benefits the populace most.
    Repentance to Yahweh is required.