Now that the dust has settled on President-elect Trump’s press conference this week, here’s four reasons why Trump might actually have came out the winner.
Trump Exposed The Mainstream Media’s Double Standards
One of the most shocking elements of the press conference was the sight of journalist Jim Acosta’s belligerence before the President-elect. Does Trump deserve respect? Well, journalists can and should write what they want about him (so long as it’s truthful), but they should at least conduct themselves respectfully towards the office of the presidency during press conferences. I mean, it’s not as if this hasn’t happened before, right? When journalists have asked Obama tough questions in the past, journalists like Don Lemon of CNN have criticized their fellow journalists of being “disrespectful.” But if you want to heckle Trump? Then apparently you’re just doing your job. It’s almost as if there’s a double standard.
Trumps Exposed The Media’s Eagerness To Buy Into Anti-Trump Rhetoric
The mainstream media’s eagerness to embrace the alleged sexual peccadilloes of the President-elect in the dossier proved that the legitimacy of the allegations was secondary when it came to the editorial judgment about whether to run the story. While some news outlets and independent journalists refused to touch the story because its contents couldn’t be verified, others didn’t. Journalists ultimately undermine their own credibility when they disseminate unproven allegations, even if they cloak their broadcasts with disclaimers. Even if the allegations are demonstrably false, it won’t stop his opponents alluding to them. Trump’s opponents should be criticizing him for actual misdeeds.
Trump Is Now The Ultimate Outsider, Not The Media
Here’s what we know: A former British intelligence officer was hired and paid handsomely by a Republican and/or Democratic operative to dig up dirt on Donald Trump. That dossier got attached to an official CIA briefing seen by the President and President-elect. It also got taken up by CNN and Buzzfeed, who legitimised it. So it passed between three establishment entities — a partisan operative, the CIA, and mainstream media outlets. Perhaps it might be too much to suggest any collusion here, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the aforementioned entities were very quick to take up unproved allegations and run with them in an attempt to de-legitimize Donald Trump’s presidency. As a result, even as he becomes the Commander in Chief, he can still justifiably claim that the establishment is trying to take him down, whether that’s accurate or not. That will serve him extremely well and the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot because they have potentially exposed themselves as being a political party playing the shadowy games usually seen in House of Cards.
Trump proved that he’s not going to be more presidential now he’s president, and that’s a problem for the media.
Trump’s behavior at the press conference was reminiscent of the bombastic style he deployed at his rallies during the campaign. The magnanimous tone he adopted during his victory speech indicated a shift in tone that now seems unlikely. Is that a good thing? Trump’s combative style might bring a less than elegant tenor to the White House, but from Trump’s perspective, it would be silly of him to abandon it. After all, he won in part because of his style. His ability to cut through the media and speak directly to the people is a powerful tool at his disposal. The challenge for the media is how to react to it. They’ve never had anyone, especially a head of state, challenge them on anything, especially fake news, and it seems that the dossier is exactly that — fake news. If they want to call it out when it’s about Clinton they must also do it when it’s about Trump.
Here’s Why Everything Just Mentioned Above Is Bad For Democracy
The more Donald Trump can expose the failings of the mainstream media, the more people will question everything the media says. A healthy skepticism is a good thing, but when you trust neither the politicians nor the media, it’s bad for democracy. Neither is above reproach, but if the media want to retain their credibility, they must hold themselves to the same high standard they purportedly want to hold the President-elect.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]