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President Trump Thinks The Media Hates His Twitter Habit. He Couldn’t Be More Wrong.

Trump Twitter

President Trump was on Twitter again this morning — surprise! — discussing everything from the independent counsel investigation, which even he now acknowledges includes a look at whether he committed obstruction of justice, to the supposedly great state of the economy. His most amusing claim, though, came in what he said about the media:

This isn’t the first time that Trump has claimed that the so-called “mainstream media” hate when he uses social media sites like Twitter. He said much the same thing earlier this month:

This led to bemused responses from several members of the media:

As well as this observation from yours truly:

As Chris Cillizza goes on to note in a piece at CNN.com, if Trump really believes the media doesn’t like when he uses social media, then he doesn’t understand how this process works:

If Trump believes this — and he certainly seem to — it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the media views the president’s Twitter feed and how he employs it.

The reality is this: Every political journalist in the world is absolutely thrilled that Donald Trump not only tweets but does with the frequency and bluntness that he does. NO reporter wants Donald Trump to stop tweeting. Not one.

Trump’s Twitter feed gives the political media — and anyone else who follows him — a direct look into his thought processes. We know what he is thinking about — or angry about — at all times of day. That’s absolutely invaluable. It’s “The President: Raw and Uncut.”

We’ve seen time and time again that what Trump’s White House says and what the president actually thinks are very different things. (Sidebar: How are you enjoying workforce development and apprenticeships week?)

Even as his White House will be excoriating the media for focusing too little on some policy roll-out or another, Trump will drop a series of tweets about the “witch hunt” Russia investigation or complain, as he did yesterday, about why the Justice Department isn’t investigating alleged improprieties surrounding Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

All presidents have private thoughts that sometimes (often?) run counter to the official message the White House is pushing in a given day, week or month. But, no past president has been willing to put those discrepancies on public display in front of the tens of millions of people who follow him on Twitter before Trump.

What sort of reporter would want that pipeline to end?

The people who do want Trump to stop tweeting or to tweet less aren’t the media. They’re Republicans and Trump loyalists who believe his willingness to tell people exactly what is on his mind at any minute of the day fundamentally undermines the White House’s efforts to find some consistent messaging and build the momentum the administration has been sorely lacking to date.

“[Twitter is] a powerful tool, but I do believe that it can be used more effectively to achieve his purpose,” New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Trump supporter, said on CNN Friday morning. “I don’t know the strategy behind, you know, this morning — this latest tweet you are asking me about. But if there is a bigger strategy that makes sense, I’m all ears.”

If you’re reading this, Mr. Trump, let me be crystal clear as a card-carrying member of the media: Please keep tweeting. It provides us insight into how you think that we have never had before and may never get again from a president. Period.

Cillizza is, of course, absolutely correct. Not only doesn’t “the media” mind that he tweets so often, they love it because it gives them something to talk about regardless of what else may be in the news. I generally watch Morning Joe in the morning, and this week updating the world on the tweets coming from the President of the United States are a regular topic of conversation. This is especially true when those tweets seem to be, as they so often are, stepping all over the agenda that the White House itself is trying to set in a given week. For one thing, as Cillizza notes, it’s rare that the media gets a real insight into what a President is actually thinking before it gets filtered through the vetting of communications staff. Here we have a President who is telling us what we think and doing it in a manner that neither his staff nor his closest advisers seem to be able to get any control over. And it looks as though this isn’t going to end anytime soon. More than once since the election, we’ve seen reports in the media that Ivanka Trump or someone else close to Trump has been trying to talk him out of giving in to the reflex of taking to Twitter every time he feels the impulse to comment publicly about something. More recently it was speculated that the fact that Melania and Barron Trump had finally moved to Washington to live full-time at the White House would mean that Trump would have less time alone, which would break him off the Twitter habit to some extent, That obviously hasn’t happened, although one must admit that he’s Tweeted as much while he was alone in Washington as he did when he was living in New York before becoming President indicates that the presence of his wife and youngest sons does nothing to relieve him of his cable news and Twitter habits.

In addition to the media, of course, Trump’s Twitter habit is also beloved by his many opponents. Not only has it proven to be successful in moving his own White House off its agenda on numerous occasions, it has also turned into an important source of ammunition against him. At least six times since January, Trump’s own words on the campaign trail and on Twitter have been used against him by a Federal Court to strike down the two versions of his Muslim Travel Ban Executive Order that he has signed since taking office. He’s also made admissions about the reasons that he fired former F.B.I. Director James Comey that could end up being used against him in the ongoing investigation. The more he tweets, the more he seems to dig his own grave politically and perhaps legally.

So, speaking for both the media and the opposition I can say…. Mr. President, keep on tweeting!

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    He likes to think that he’s very clever and very brave for putting his ideas out there, unfiltered, and so obviously he needs a villain to oppose him.

    It’s the type of little white lie we tell ourselves to puff up our internal stories. “I was awesome in that meeting, Jenkins had no choice but to agree with me”, “that squirrel was looking at me funny, but when I looked him right in the eyes he backed down”, “people don’t find me morally and physically repugnant,” etc.

    Trump just chooses to tell everyone the little white lies he should just tell himself. And his little white lies are whoppers.

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  2. Pch101 says:

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the late night comedian market is one of the nation’s top growth industries. No one will be unemployed, as there is more than enough material to go around.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. HarvardLaw92 says:

    It’s the gift that just keeps on giving 😀

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  4. Jen says:

    So, it is confirmed, he fundamentally doesn’t understand what motivates the media. Add that to the ever-growing list of things he doesn’t understand, which at this stage is probably starting to rival the OED in length.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  5. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    You should develop a headline template: President Trump thinks (fill this section in). He couldn’t be more wrong.

    It would save a few keystrokes.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The goose that lays the golden eggs. And keeps on laying them, and laying them and laying and laying and laying them and…..

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Lounsbury says:

    One has to say, if he were a football opponent, the secret game play would be “get the ball to him, he’s sure to score an own goal with deadly accuracy.”

    At some level it is actually impressive, his sheer and utter cluelessness.

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  8. CSK says:

    That he really believes the press doesn’t want him to Tweet is just another terrifying illustration of how totally out of touch with reality this psychotic buffoon really is.

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  9. James Pearce says:

    The more he tweets, the more he seems to dig his own grave politically and perhaps legally.

    Legally, yes, but politically? I’m not so sure.

    What’s going to doom him politically is his lack of commitment to anything resembling a political agenda.

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  10. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:
    I think that’s right. Trump is holding about 38%. That 38% is softening, but it’s not moving.

    Basically the idiot 46% need a path to abandon Trump. They won’t do it just because he’s a moron, or because he’s made the USA a laughingstock around the world, because that means that they, the voters, are fwcking cretins who could not see what absolutely everyone else could. The 46% are the people who, even after the little boy says, “But the emperor has no clothes!” are still insisting that he does. That much stupid is very hard to walk back from.

    They need an inciting event. A thing which to their minds is a reason beyond the crashingly obvious ones. They already know, deep down, that this is a disaster, but they’re covering their ears and refusing to engage. They need an excuse, or a series of excuses, that will allow them to pretend that Trump failed because X, and allow them to avoid responsibility. In short they need a way to pin the blame for that huge turd they left on the living room floor on someone else.

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  11. CSK says:

    Trump’s poll average, today, from RCP is a robust 39.9. Quinnipiac awards him a dazzling 34.

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  12. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Apparently he’s keeping DREAMer protections in place (good for him). Though ironically, might hurt that hard core of his support. And isn’t likely to make the rest of us forgive everything else.

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  13. Lounsbury says:

    @James Pearce: I rather think looking at the two as divorced is an error.

    The unforced errors leading to deepening legal issues – the investigations – will not mechanically impact a hard core partisan base, but the constant drumbeat will tend to soften up out layers of support that might otherwise consolidate. The tracking of Strong versus Soft approval gives insight on this.

    One can assume as a rule of thumb, around a third of the electorate will stick with him no matter what, but that leaves you a feasible collapse of another (taking the current average of around 39 percent) six percent, to peel off.

    By voting maths, once the approval is down to the rock bottom, it is electoral disaster.

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  14. Hal_10000 says:

    I think you miss the point of the tweets. The point is not that Trump thinks the media actually don’t like his tweets. I think he’s well aware of how they drive the news. He loves seeing them talked about on Fox News every morning. The point is that he wants his followers to continue to see the media as the enemy and himself as the only source of truth. It’s the same thing as a snake-oil salesman who says, “here is the cure that THEY don’t want you to know about.”

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  15. Lounsbury says:

    @Hal_10000: This is probably spot on at some level, although I think it also likely he also genuinely resents having lost control of the narrative about himself and there’s a genuine aspect to his comments.

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  16. Norm and Clay Chair says:

    Mr. Trump is on the verge, after he perfects his art of Tweeting, of obtaining unlimited access to 24/7 coverage of anything he wants to say. Never before has a president had so much followers throughout the world because of tweets. Keep it up Mr. President the snowflakes in the media don’t know what hit them.

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  17. Slugger says:

    I don’t like his tweets. Mr. Trump wears the mantle of President of the United States, but this doesn’t belong to him. Everyone who becomes President must realize that it is a position of great responsibility, and it is their duty to enhance its luster during their time of service. The Presidency belongs to the people, and as one of them I don’t like it when it is cheapened and lowered in esteem. The day will come when Mr. Trump is longer in office; I don’t like the debasing of the office.

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  18. Lounsbury says:

    @Norm and Clay Chair: never before have so many Russian inteligence managed auto-bots had such a great dezinformatsia source.

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  19. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Norm and Clay Chair: “Hold on tight to your dreams.”

    ReplyReply

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