Donald Trump Continues His Despicable War On The News Media

President Trump continues his war on one of the most important guardians of American democracy.

Trump Nixon V

As he has so many times in the past, Donald Trump took aim at one of his favorite targets during his ranting speech in Phoenix on Tuesday night, the news media that in many ways are responsible for the popularity that propelled him into politics and the Oval Office:

Every time you think President Trump’s anti-press rhetoric can’t get worse, he finds a way of surprising you and not surprising you all at the same time.

That he will attack journalists on a regular basis should be expected at this point, and it is. The surprising part comes when he manages to outdo himself. After all, he couldn’t possibly top “enemy of the people,” could he?

Yet there he was in Phoenix on Tuesday, telling a crowd of thousands of ardent supporters that journalists were “sick people” who he believes “don’t like our country,” and are “trying to take away our history and our heritage.”

The moment matters. Mr. Trump’s latest attack on the media came at a time of heightened racial tension stoked by a white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville, Va., and continuing now in the national debate over removing statues that commemorate Confederate figures from the Civil War. Mr. Trump’s speech in Phoenix reprised a question spawned by his raucous rallies during the presidential campaign: How long before someone is seriously hurt, or worse?

“Coming off the violence in Charlottesville, with tensions so high and the kindling so dry, it felt like President Trump was playing recklessly with fire, singling out a specific group of people — the media — for disliking America and trying to erase our country’s heritage,” Jim VandeHei, chief executive of the Axios news website, told me. “He’s just wrong to paint so wildly with such a broad brush, and, worse, putting reporters at real risk of retribution or violence.”

(In a passionate appeal on Twitter on Wednesday, Mr. VandeHei posted the following message: “To family/friends who support Trump: What he said last night was despicable, extremely deceptive, dangerous.”)

The president’s remarks on Tuesday were diciest for the news organizations that he identified by name.

“When you see 15,000 people turn on your colleagues behind a rope, yeah, you worry about it,” George Stephanopoulos, the chief anchor for ABC News, told me on Wednesday. Mr. Trump insulted Mr. Stephanopoulos personally in Phoenix while singling out his news organization.

As usual, CNN got the worst of it, facing chants that included “CNN Sucks,” although ABC and CNN both reported that none of their personnel had been threatened physically.


[T]o dismiss Mr. Trump’s rhetoric would be to disregard the risk of violence that comes with the kind of presidential incitement we saw Tuesday night.

It would also mean disregarding an element of presidential leadership that we are all taught in grammar school: its broad influence — how it can set a tone for others to follow.

Yes, mistrust of the media was growing even before Mr. Trump emerged on the political scene. But this much is unmistakable: The president is significantly adding to what is, without question, the worst anti-press atmosphere I’ve seen in 25 years in journalism, and real, chilling consequences have surfaced, not just in the United States, but around the world.

Look at how People’s Daily of China disputed reports about the torture that the human rights lawyer Xie Yang said he had endured at the hands of government interrogators, calling it “Fake News,” and how Cambodia threatened to expel foreign news organizations, including Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, because of Mr. Trump’s assertions that reporters were dishonest.

“It’s providing cover for repression around the world,” said Courtney Radsch, the director for advocacy at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The answer, of course, is for journalists to continue doing their jobs and hope for the best, but the consequences of the President of the United States engaging in this kind of irresponsible conduct is clear:

“At some level,” as Mr. Stephanopoulos told me, “that’s all we can do.”

He added: “You have to trust that if we do our job and do it well and do it with integrity and don’t make mistakes, that in the end, the sort of fundamental idea behind the First Amendment — that the truth will out — will actually take place.”

What seemed to particularly sting on Wednesday was the way that Mr. Trump had impugned journalists’ patriotism.

“Claim bias. Fine. Claim elitism. Fine,” Mr. VandeHei of Axios wrote on Twitter. “But to say reporters erase America’s heritage, don’t love America, turn off cameras to hide truth, are to blame for racial tension, is just plain wrong.”

New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff also criticizes Trump’s rhetoric:

Trump’s caricature of journalists as dishonest is hypocritical, and it insults the courage and professionalism of my colleagues who sometimes risk their lives trying to get a story.

I’ve lost reporter and photographer friends in war zones all over the world, and have had other friends kidnapped and tortured. When Trump galvanizes crowds against reporters in the room, I worry that we may lose journalists in the line of duty not only in places like Syria but also right here at home. Trump will get people hurt.

also worry that Trump is buoying the repressive instincts of dictators around the world. Since Trump’s election, I’ve been denied entry by Venezuela, Congo, South Sudan and Yemen, an unusual number of countries — and I wonder if foreign leaders believe that it is now easier to deny access to troublesome American journalists now that they are reviled by their own president.


This is an extraordinary moment in our nation’s history, for we are enduring an epic struggle over the principles on which our country was founded. These include the idea that a flawed free press is an essential institutional check on flawed leaders.

So may I humbly suggest that when a megalomaniacal leader howls and shrieks at critics, that is when institutional checks on that leader become a bulwark of democracy.

This isn’t the first time that Trump has taken aim at the news media, of course. During his Presidential campaign, Trump used his speeches to attack the reporters that were covering him and the networks that were airing his speeches. Often he would claim, falsely, that networks like CNN had turned off their cameras and were not covering his speech live even as the speech was airing live on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel simultaneously. As noted above, he has repeatedly referred to the news media and specific reporter in derogatory ways and accused them of hating America and encouraged the crowd to turn its ire on the reporters and camera crews that were typically located in the back of whatever venue he happened to be speaking in. In many cases, this resulted in members of the pro-Trump crowd shouting vile epithets and even threats at individual reporters to the point where they would often need to be escorted out of the venue by law enforcement officers or Secret Service agents in order to ensure their own safety. During the campaign, Trump banned reporters from two publications, The Des Moines Register and The Washington Post, from receiving press passes to cover events and speeches and then go on to accuse them of trying to censor his message to the voters because they weren’t there to cover it.

Since becoming President, Trump has extended his war on the media in ways that have made this Administration far less transparent than its predecessors. The daily White House Briefing, for example, has gone from being something that occurs on an almost daily basis to something that only occurs irregularly. Additionally, when the briefing does occur it’s often been the case that the White House Press Secretary, at first Sean Spicer and now Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has forbidden live television coverage of the event, forbidden live audio coverage, or simply not held the event at all and limited interactions with reporters to handing out press releases and statements that convey the Administration’s version of events without allowing for any follow-up questions. On those rare occasions when there is a live broadcast press briefing it is typically far shorter than anything that has been held under previous Administrations, and Sarah Huckabee in particular has been very skilled at not answering reporters question or attempting to divert their attention with briefings about entirely irrelevant topics that could easily be handled by the press offices at one of the Cabinet Departments. Trump himself has only held two press conferences since becoming President, a pace that would put him at the bottom of the list of recent Presidents in that category if it continues for four years. And, of course, Trump has continued his war on the media on Twitter and it’s typically his habit to label any piece of negative information, whether it involves economic data, the Russia investigation, or bad poll numbers, as “Fake News.”

None of this is surprising, of course, because in many ways Trump is merely playing to a meme that has been part of conservative mythology for decades now. The idea of “media bias” against conservatives and Republicans is one that goes back to the Nixon Administration, and one that the politicians and pundits on the right have used many times to deflect attention from items in the news that reflect negatively on them. To some extent, it is true that there was some bias in the era when the media was limited largely to the three major broadcast networks and a group of newspaper reporters that all seemed to come from one or two publications. To a large degree, though, that bias was a geographic and cultural one rather than a political bias. That era, however, began to end when Ted Turner founded CNN in 1980 and expanded greatly with the expansion of Internet access and the invention of the World Wide Web, which has become a source to which people can turn for news, information, and opinion from all over the world. More recently, the rise of Twitter and other forms of social media has also transformed how news is transmitted and innovations such as fact-checking websites have made it easier for consumers of news to find out the truth about what’s going on around them. Like any other institution, these innovations are not perfect, but they have made the press far more accessible and made it far less likely that an untrue news report will go unchallenged.

Despite these changes, conservatives continue to contend that the media is biased against them and this President has effectively picked up on that message in an effort to deflect attention away from negative reports about him. While this was problematic when he was a candidate for office, it is downright troublesome now that he is President of the United States. In the past, for example, candidate Trump said that he was open to the idea of changing American libel law to make it easier for politicians to sue reporters and media organizations, or potentially for them to even use the courts to quash stories altogether. He’s also suggested that media organizations should be punished for reporting leaked information from inside the government. Finally, of course, there’s the fact that Trump’s ongoing attacks on the media in general and on specific reporters pose the danger of encouraging someone to actually commit an act of violence against a member of the media. All of this poses unique challenges to the entire concept of freedom of the press in the Trump Era. As I’ve said before, in Donald Trump’s war on the news media there’s only one right side, and it isn’t on the side of the President.

If there is some good news in all of this, it is the fact that Trump’s war on the news media doesn’t seem to be working very well, except perhaps with his most ardent supporters. According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 65% of voters disapprove of Trump’s attacks on the news media while only 35% approve of the way that Trump is attacking the media. Additionally, the poll also finds that 54% of voters trust the media over the President to “tell the truth about important issues” while only 36% say that they trust the President over the news media. At the same time, the poll finds that 55% of respondents disapprove of the way the media is covering Trump, although it’s worth noting as Matthew Yglesias does that this number likely includes people who think the media isn’t being critical enough of the President in its coverage.  In other highlights from this same poll that are likely driven by Trump’s press coverage, 61% of respondents do not believe that the President is honest and that he does not have good leadership skill. 62% say that Trump does not provide the country with moral leadership, 57% do not believe he cares about average Americans, 63% believe the President does not share their values, and 68% do not think that the President is “level headed.” The same poll found that only 35% of respondents approve of the job the President is doing, while 59% disapprove. These numbers persist across all demographic group with only two exceptions, self-identified Republicans and people who say they voted for Trump in 2016. If nothing else this would seem to establish that Trump’s effort to minimize the damage to his Administration being done by news about the Presidents own tweets, his lack of accomplishments, the Russia investigation, and everything else by shooting the messenger isn’t working. That alone is reason to have some faith that this distinctly un-American war on the press will end up backfiring on a President who has seen so many things backfire on him already.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Paul L. says:

    This is proof that the Duke Lacrosse and UVA Frat rapes occurred.
    The Rape apologists/defenders were despicable in criticizing and declaring War On The News Media.

    Wow, Quoting Matthew Yglesias as an authoritative source.

  2. teve tory says:

    Trump is sooooo needy for media attention, perhaps his attacks on them are a form of Reaction Formation, like when a Southern Baptist GOP politician is always yelling about how terrible and depraved the gays are, when he’s not sneaking off with Rent Boys.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @Paul L.: Way of missing the point, dude.

  4. teve tory says:

    KDrum was on the same topic yesterday, w/r/t the speech:

    Honestly, though, pulling out a few quotes here and there just doesn’t give you a sense of how this thing went. The remarkable part is that he just told lie after lie after lie with barely a pause for breath. And everyone in the audience, most of whom probably don’t follow this stuff in gruesome detail,² believed him. His 15-minute rant about Charlottesville—which he had prepared notes for—was just a flat-out lie about what he said, when he said it, and what he was criticized for. After that he lied about CNN turning off their cameras. He lied about the size of the protest outside. He lied about job creation. He lied about his tweeting. He lied (yet again) about the New York Times apologizing for its campaign coverage of him. He lied about the media ignoring big stories. He lied about auto companies bringing jobs back to America. He lied about how much illegal immigration has declined. He lied about extreme vetting. He lied about Obamacare. He lied about how close he was to repealing it. He lied about defense spending. He lied about clean coal. He lied about economic growth. He lied about corporate tax rates.

    It was a 77-minute spittle-flecked presentation of alternate reality. And above all, it was a continuation of his war on the media. His goal is to convince all of his followers, not just the true believers, that everything in the mainstream press is a deliberate fiction and they shouldn’t believe any of it. And it’s working pretty well:

    [graph showing 80% of republicans believe “there is a lot of fake news in the media”]

    Republicans are very close to believing that literally nothing they hear is true unless they hear it from Trump. This is the road to catastrophe if it keeps up.

  5. teve tory says:

    Cult leaders do something similar–they convince their followers that all outside information is untrustworthy, and only the leader cares about them and is telling them the truth.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    What Trump is trying to sell: the horrors of immigration, culture war against Islam, Obamacare bad, tax cuts for rich good, AGW myth, crime up, “elites” evil, etc., not to mention his own suitability for office; flies in the face of reality. What choice does he have except to undermine anyone who might report honestly? And the same goes for the whole modern Republican Party.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    This is about Russia.

    Trump is a criminal who knows the cops are onto him. “Fake News” means, “Ignore the evidence against me.” Which is just another way of saying, “I’m guilty.”

    When a MAGAron like @Paul L.: says, “Fake news” what he means is, “I don’t care that Trump is a traitor, but I lack the courage to say so.”

  8. CSK says:

    Trump dwells within his own self-created reality. When several thousand yahoos show up at one of his Nuremberg rallies, he no doubt believes they represent 99% of the American people–because he has to believe that.

  9. teve tory says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell (C) walks to his office after leaving the Senate floor following votes on a package of nominations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 03 August 2017. MICHAEL REYNOLDS

    I guess you’ve got the inside scoop!

  10. grumpy realist says:

    OT: The British pound has dropped considerably due to Brexit fiasco. (1 L = 1.089 Euros).

    As one wag over at the Indy put it: “just a few more days and the British pound will finally have joined the Euro…”

  11. grumpy realist says:

    OT: The British pound has dropped considerably due to Brexit fiasco. (1 L = 1.089 Euros).

    As one wag over at the Indy put it: “just a few more days and the British pound will finally have joined the Euro…”

  12. Kylopod says:

    @Paul L.: You know what you and other Foxoid/Breitbart trolls remind me of? You’re like right-wing versions of Siri. Anyone who’s used Siri knows she has a series of preprogrammed smartass lines that she matches to your query (say, “What’s the meaning of life?” “I don’t know, but I think there’s an app for that.”) It’s used to generate the illusion of conversation, when it’s really just a slightly more sophisticated version of the old talking dolls with the pull-strings.

    You’re just like that. You’re unable to address the substance of the article, all you know how to do is find a few word matches (“media,” “attacks,”) and use them to choose from a set of predigested lines you’ve lifted from your propaganda scandal sheet. Computer engineers could already make an AI version of you, and nobody’d be able to tell.

  13. Mikey says:


    Computer engineers could already make an AI version of you, and nobody’d be able to tell.

    Oh gods, please don’t let the first computer to pass the Turing test be one that blathers on like an idiot Trumpkin.

  14. Kylopod says:


    Oh gods, please don’t let the first computer to pass the Turing test be one that blathers on like an idiot Trumpkin.

    Why not? The easiest method is always going to be the lowest common denominator.

    Of course it wouldn’t really be AI but AS.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Considering how many Twitter followers of Trump have turned out to be bots….

    I’m starting to think of the Dalek vs. Cybermen sass-off. (Look it up on YouTube. It’s good.)

  16. Terrye Cravens says:

    I think what amazes me the most is that Trump’s supporters do not mind it when he lies to their faces. That is downright creepy.

  17. CSK says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    They don’t think he’s lying.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Considering that a lot of them are probably involved in a similar “oh poor me” self-pity trap, it’s not surprising.

  19. DrDaveT says:


    Computer engineers could already make an AI version of you, and nobody’d be able to tell.

    The hardest part of the AI version would not be the auto-reply; it would be getting the spelling errors and fat-thumb typos “right” in a realistic way.

  20. Blue Galangal says:

    @CSK: No, but even when you tell them – and prove with facts – he is lying, they dismiss it. It’s bizarre to watch the mindwipe. “These are not the droids we’re looking for.”

  21. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    “Mommy, he started the fight when he hit me back!”

  22. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: Naw. They know. They can’t allow themselves to care because then they have nothing at all.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:
  24. michael reynolds says:

    @teve tory:
    Dude, I saw him walking, I just had to say something.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I ever tell you I was approached – full-on box-sized PR kit kissing my ass – to write a book series spin-off of Dr. Who? But I was never a Doctor fan and realized I’d have to spend six months just watching shows, then get my brains beat in by the hardcore Whovians, with a side of anti-Americanism. Pass.

  26. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But I was never a Doctor fan

    Good decision, then.

    I’m not a Whovian, but I still think the best Dr. Who book of all time isn’t (officially) a Dr. Who book at all. It’s Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which was originally conceived as a Dr. Who plot but was eventually repurposed with the serial numbers filed off. It’s not hard to spot the Time Lord if you know that.

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier aka J-E-N-O-S:: Remember back when you were insisting Trump’s proposal to make Mexico “pay for the wall” was simply the opening move in a negotiation in which he’d get some real concessions out of Mexico?

    How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?

  28. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Yeah, they would have killed you. I love the show and I’d be worried about the same things. Also, why write anything when you don’t control the underlying IP?

  29. Timothy Watson says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    “Mommy, he started the fight when he hit me back!”

    So both Donald Trump and the media are five year olds in your telling?

  30. @Paul L.: Indeed. What about that thing that happened a while ago that confirms your worldview? If we would just focus on just that then we won’t have to deal with the actual content of the post!

    What about that, indeed.

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    1. slow to understand.
    synonyms: stupid, slow-witted, slow, dull-witted, unintelligent, ignorant, simpleminded, witless;

  32. Franklin says:

    @Mikey: I’m not even 100% sure that the Russians haven’t already accomplished that, based on the comment sections at some sites.

  33. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    J-E-N-O-S once again fantasizes that he is the victim.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Yeah the ratio between ‘control’ and ‘cash’ was not to my liking. I think there may have been an element of poaching, too; the offer came from Penguin and in the UK I’m with Egmont – which had just stolen an author friend of mine out from under Penguin’s nose.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @t: @DrDaveT:
    It was flattering but it was a bit like being asked to write some extra chapters for the Koran. And being a Jew. I have slowly, over many years, acquired the self-control not to rush into disaster.

  36. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump is a malignant narcissist…which is far worse than just having run-of-the-mill Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This causes him to want to punish his enemies; anyone who does not submit to him. This is clear from both what he says and, of course, his high school style mean-tweets. Surely he secretly wishes he could be like his Dom and simply exterminate the enemies (reporters) he doesn’t like.
    Unfortunately, a rather feckless 4th estate, that has spent decades perfecting “both sides do it” journalism and going along to get along, is as ill prepared to fight back as they were to stop his ascendancy.
    The good news is that we are starting to see more aggressive push-back.
    I hold out faint hope that it increases, that it is enough, and that it continues unabated.

    Meantime, it’s Friday. What fvcked up thing is he going to do today??? I do see that he is calling out Corker…one of the few remaining Republican Senators with integrity.

  37. John430 says:

    I invite Doug to read for a week and then let’s see who’s “despicable”.

    From today’s postings: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer allows Dem. Rep. from California to compare Trump’s tactics to Nazi Germany.

    USA Today promotes debate on Trump’s mental health.

    Donny Deutsch on MSNBC calls Trump a sociopath.

    Doug Mataconis might even check Newsbusters recent catalog of the smears from our vaunted Fourth Estate,which BTW is rapidly becoming our Fifth Estate.

    FYI- I am not defending Trump, but am merely pointing out the rabid attacks. Trump is the Chaos President, no doubt, and politics will never be the same once the neutral press is unmasked as paid Democrat operatives with a byline.

  38. @John430:

    I am not defending Trump,

    No, of course not.

    After all, what about these examples of “rabid attacks”?

    What about them? I think we should divert from the topic of this post, which is about the very serious consequences of the President of the United States relentlessly attacking the press and helping to denigrate and erode any sense of shared information and knowledge. After all, what about those other examples you cited?

  39. (To be clear: of course one can find examples in the press that are problematic or worthy of criticism, what with the hours and hours of TV, radio, and podcasts along with the hundreds of thousands of words written daily about politics. However, not one of those examples obviates the topic of this post).

  40. teve tory says:


    Oh gods, please don’t let the first computer to pass the Turing test be one that blathers on like an idiot Trumpkin.

    There are probly a lot of Trumpers who would fail the turing test.

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    “Mommy, he started the fight when he hit me back!”

    Trump: “Wrong!”
    Media: “Yes you are.”
    Trump: “I know you are, but what am I?”
    Media: “Wrong, you said so yourself.”
    Trump “Wrong, those were just words.”
    Media: “Sean Hannity said that too, coincidence?”
    Trump: “I don’t know Sean Hannity.”
    Media: “Wrong.”

  42. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    CNN’s Wolf Blitzer allows Dem. Rep. from California to compare Trump’s tactics to Nazi Germany.

    Trump, who is a malignant narcissist, is very similar to Hitler and Stalin in that respect and his tactics can legitimately be compared to the rise of Nazism in Germany. To deny this is intellectually dishonest.

    USA Today promotes debate on Trump’s mental health.

    There are many indications that Trump has serious mental health issues. This is a legitimate debate. Trump could put an end to it by being evaluated, you know, like Obama provided his birth certificate.

    Donny Deutsch on MSNBC calls Trump a sociopath.

    Deutsch has apparently known Trump for a long time. Trump does in fact fit the definition of sociopath.
    Newsbusters is a far right propaganda outlet. It would behoove you to actually examine the facts in evidence, and not just stuff that conforms to your pre-existing views..

  43. Kylopod says:


    Donny Deutsch on MSNBC calls Trump a sociopath.

    Let’s recall Trump’s tweet right after the Orlando shooting:

    “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

    Now, tell me, John, seriously: how can anyone but a sociopath have written this? It was in reaction to the deadliest mass shooting in American history, that left 50 dead, and all Trump could think to talk about was himself. No horror at what just happened, no empathy for the victims, just boasting about his allegedly “being right.”

    To paraphrase Paul Ryan, this is practically the textbook definition of a sociopath.

  44. @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @Kylopod: I think you both raise valid points.

    However, you are falling for his whataboutism…

  45. teve tory says:

    On the way back from my new job I was listening to NPR and they were playing trump clips from this week, and i had to mute it because he was just so stupid. “These members of our military…they’re part of a great…family…and that is…the…human…family…and they’re just so great at being …the military…which is the greatest military…” it was just idiotic babbling.

  46. teve tory says:

    and earlier this week:

    “We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal, and it’s just been announced that a second, brand-new coal mine, where they’re going to take out clean coal — meaning, they’re taking out coal. They’re going to clean it — is opening in the state of Pennsylvania, the second one.”


    His comment puzzled scientists and people with an understanding of how coal mining works.

    “He clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said Pieter Tans, the lead scientist of the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado.

    “It sounds like he thinks that they’re going to wash the coal,” Tans told ABC News. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

    He’s just an idiot.

  47. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    However, you are falling for his whataboutism…

    Maybe…but that’s the defense Trump himself uses, so…

    When someone attacks me, I always attack back…except 100x more. This has nothing to do with a tirade but rather, a way of life!

    When somebody challenges you unfairly, fight back – be brutal, be tough – don’t take it. It is always important to WIN!

    The thing is…we never get to the discussion of whether these are actually attacks and/or fake news, or legitimate concerns and legitimate news. When you equivocate white supremacists and people protesting the hate and racism that white supremacists engender, and then reports calling out that equivocation become seen as personal attacks on the POTUS, then our democracy has a serious disease. If the election of Trump by people like John107.5 taught me anything its that these know-nothings can no longer be ignored. There are too many idiots, too willing to be conned, to pretend that they do not exist, any longer. The cancer needs to be fought and rooted out. I agree that engaging whataboutism is not overly effective, if at all, against this cancer…but until a cure is found…

  48. MarkedMan says:

    You know, I’ve long said that I can’t see how Trump’s reign ends sooner than January of 2021, but Josh Marshall has a post up at Talking Points Memo that got me thinking. He’s making the very valid point that Trump seems to be trying to set up the Republican congress in general, and leadership in particular, for his total failure to fulfill any of his campaign promises. He’s attacking more and more of them and even actively recruiting people to primary against them, even if those primary candidates are total losers and will cost the seat. Now, Josh is mostly commenting on Trump’s deranged personality, but it makes me wonder. If the Republican Congress starts to consider Trump someone who isn’t a Republican but essentially a populist 3rd party president who is actively hostile to them, would it change enough minds to start a move towards impeachment?

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it is at all likely yet, especially since it is mostly Senators and not Reps that are drawing Trump’s fire and impeachment would have to start in the house. But this may be the first time that I’ve seen even a tiny, tiny flicker at the end of the tunnel.

  49. @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    The cancer needs to be fought and rooted out. I agree that engaging whataboutism is not overly effective, if at all, against this cancer…but until a cure is found…

    I am trying (and not always succeeding) to point out the diversion and then trying to stick to the actual object under discussion. It is a not a cure, but it helps keep the tumor from growing and spreading.

  50. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump seems to think he has no role in the legislative process. Like he made all these campaign promises that meant nothing, and he’s simply waiting for Congress to put bills on his desk so he can mindlessly sign them. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as it looks like he is winning.
    Obamacare is called Obamacare because he wrangled it thru Congress.
    The Bush tax cuts are called the Bush tax cuts because they were his policy.
    It’s like he is the embodiment of Norquist’s ideal President…a pen holder who will sign whatever is put before him.

    We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

    The problem is that this Congress is only slightly less incompetent than Trump is.

  51. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I tend to think of Trump’s approach to the presidency as being sort of like a Mary Sue. The term is used in various ways today, but in its original sense it referred to the habit of some fan fiction writers to insert themselves into a story and to depict themselves as absolutely perfect characters who are good at everything and whom everyone else adores, so that the stories would become self-indulgent, almost masturbatory wish-fulfillment exercises. (The term can be applied to characters of either gender.)

    Throughout his entire career Trump has always operated by constantly creating narratives with himself at the center, as the absolute, flawless, beloved hero–in other words, the Mary Sue. That’s why he lies so easily and incessantly; he’s engaged in a continual act of storytelling, or perhaps I should say fan fiction writing. What’s actually happening around him is irrelevant to him, because his whole purpose is to be advancing this narrative and making it heard as far and wide as he can manage.

    And that’s his approach to being president. After scoring the 11th smallest electoral victory in history while losing the popular vote by 3 million, he claims to have won one of the biggest landslides in history. After Congress crafts a bill that will strip health care coverage from millions, he says it’ll give excellent health care to everyone, for less money. After six months without signing a single major piece of legislation, he claims to have had the most impressive first six months to a presidency in memory.

    Actually getting himself involved in the work of legislation would be counter-productive to his purpose, assuming he even had the grasp of policy needed to make sense of it. He doesn’t care all that much what Congress lays at his desk, because he thinks it’s his job to drive the narrative and call it whatever he wants people to think it is, and to take full credit for it even if he had little to no involvement in its passage.

    No matter what’s happening around him, he’s always going to be coming up with a narrative that casts him as the hero in his ongoing drama. When he succeeds at something, he touts it as among the most awesome successes a president has ever accomplished. When he fails, he blames the failure on others and claims he’s still enjoying the greatest success a president has ever had. That’s the approach he’ll take if his presidency truly goes to shambles, only we’ll see a lot more blaming alongside the spinning. He’ll be saying in effect, “I’m the most awesome president the world has ever seen! And oh, everything going wrong is everyone else’s fault.”

  52. John430 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I don’t think I departed from the blog’s main point in re: Trump attacks media. I believe he aptly followed the Obama White House advice to Democrats. To wit: Punch back twice as hard.

  53. @John430:

    Punch back twice as hard.

    But you aren’t punching back, you are trying to start a side fight.

  54. al-Ameda says:


    Obama White House advice to Democrats. To wit: Punch back twice as hard.

    I believe that Michelle Obama consistently advised and urged Democrats as follows, ‘they go low, we go high’ – which in the case of trying to win against a narcissist, celebrity con-man like Donald Trump is somewhat misguided.