Preceding, and certainly following, the release of Fire and Fury, the headline-grabbing tell-all tome about the chaotic Trump Campaign and bewildering opening stanza of the Trump Administration, President Trump launched a vicious assault on the credibility of not only the book itself, but its author, Michael Wolff. Yet unlike other instances in which the president has used social media to barbarically-bludgeon his critics—which are commonly one-off impulses, Trump’s current reactionary spasm persists.
Not only has the president made daily use of the communicative cudgels at his disposal to lambast Wolff as a “loser” and a “phony,” but even his dwindling cadre of supporters have stormed out of the gates like rabid dogs in a bumbling effort to defend the president’s horrifically-uncivilized fervor. Just the other day, Trump’s senior advisor for policy, Stephen Miller, was reported by CBS News to have been escorted off the set by security following an extraordinarily-heated interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
As a nation, we’re pretty well accustomed to the bombast which oozes out of the White House. We’ve been able to digest the ridiculousness of “alternative facts,” arguments about crowd sizes despite photographic evidence to the contrary, and even official statements pronouncing that the “president’s authority will not be questioned.” Yet, it seems like each time we reach the summit of absurdity, the bar is swiftly re-positioned.
To that end, for the last several days, the president has shared a graphic showing a likeness of Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff complete with the heading “Liar and Phony.” Now, what makes this particular meme of sorts interesting is not necessarily the frequency with which a sitting president shares it, but that it’s overpoweringly-adorned with carefully-parsed quotes from prominent journalists employed by media organizations such as CNN, Politico, The New York Times, and Business Insider.
To members of a select political community, and at first glance, this sort of glaring ad hominem may be persuasive on some ill-considered level. However, it objectively highlights the startling hypocrisy of the president’s war on the media. You simply cannot direct an unwavering campaign geared to paint the mainstream media as inherently dishonest and untrustworthy, and then invoke the credibility of those very same journalists when the need arises. Bear in mind, and as The Hill reported, many of the news outlets from which the aforementioned personalities hail are likely to compose the nominee’s list for the president’s impending “Fake News Awards”.
At best, this variety of flailing and utterly incoherent strategy provides for an exceptionally feeble and wobbly defense. At worst, it serves as a clear demonstration that the president finds logic and reason to be unnecessarily cumbersome shackles.