Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, is taking exception to an article published in Newsweek magazine that claims that his dad and murderer Charles Manson used similar language to attract followers. Trump Jr. told his two million-plus Twitter followers that the publication, which he asserted formerly was a legitimate news outlet, has now devolved into a “liberal clickbait rag.”
Newsweek, which presumably got the message, apparently responded by removing all references to President Trump in the article, with the addition of an editor’s note stating that “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.”
This note has left some wondering how the essay in its original form made it through the editorial process in the first place if it was substandard.
The revised piece, which is now devoid of all mentions of the president, suggests that Manson’s manipulative charisma and power over his cult group came from his way with words. As history has recorded, the Manson family murdered nine persons, including actress Sharon Tate, in August 1969. Convicted of first-degree murder in 1971, Manson died in prison on November 19 at age 83. Manson was originally sentenced to death but the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty the following year, resulting in a life sentence for Manson.
With inflammatory tweets and often controversial, bombastic statements, plus the feud du jour, President Trump may generate less-than-positive coverage in media outlets through his own actions. That said, however, studies have shown that the mainstream media has been relentlessly negative toward the 45th president, prompting Trump to label CNN and various other media industry organizations as fake news.
A survey of about 2,000 registered voters by the Morning Consult firm indicated that 46 percent think that the media makes up or fabricates stories about Trump, Politico reported. This includes 76 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents, and 20 percent of Democrats. Similarly, two-thirds of American voters regardless of their political ideology believe that fake news permeates the mainstream media. That was the conclusion of a poll by Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies in collaboration with the polling firm Harris Insights and Analytics. A universal definition of fake news is somewhat elusive, however.
A former Democrat and independent who successfully ran as a first-time candidate for the nation’s highest office on the GOP ticket, Trump upended the establishments of both political parties and confounded the predictions of the poll-driven New York- and Washington-centric media industry in the process. Apart from policy differences with his populist agenda, perhaps this is one explanation for the intense criticism. Perhaps it also explains why many news organizations run with stories based on sketchy sourcing. Whether based on style or substance, however, Trump Sr. has been saddled with low approval ratings throughout most of his tenure in Washington so far.
A Pew Research Study found that 62 percent of the media coverage of the Trump presidency out of the gate was negative. The findings were derived from sifting through 3,000-plus news stories from a total of 24 media outlets that included broadcast and cable networks as well as news websites and print newspapers.
Earlier this year, a report from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy similarly suggested that media coverage in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency was overwhelmingly negative on all issues based on an evaluation of CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and three European news outlets. On CBS, CNN, and NBC, 93 percent of the coverage of the Trump administration was negative, the report detailed. The Times and the Post clocked in at 87 percent and 83 percent negative, respectively, with the WSJ publishing 70 percent negative stories. Contrary to popular perceptions, 52 percent of the Fox News coverage was also negative.
Whether you are a fan or foe of President Trump, the trend lines in news media coverage would appear to not have changed much one year into the Trump presidency.
A quick review of Newsweek’s Twitter feed appears to show a pronounced tilt toward anti-Trump content, which may or may not be a business decision. Outside of doctors’ waiting rooms, many Americans may be unaware that Newsweek magazine still exists, however.
[Featured Image by Matt York/AP Images]