Donald Trump likes to crow about how he uses Twitter to “talk directly” to Americans, avoiding the “filter” of the “fake news” mainstream media.
The president, it appears to me, would have us believe he has been a trendsetter in this regard.
I would beg to differ.
Trump is a bit late to this game of sticking it in the ear of the media. Rick Perry, the energy secretary, blazed that trail in 2010 while running for what turned out to be his final re-election campaign as Texas governor.
I wrote about it then:
Perry, too, wanted to forgo talking to newspaper editorial boards while campaigning for governor. He stiffed us in the business. He didn’t even come to Amarillo, where I worked at the time as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. He might have earned our newspaper’s editorial endorsement against the man he faced in that year’s general election, former Houston Mayor Bill White; the paper had a policy at the time of declining to make endorsements in contested partisan primaries.
The governor decided to stay away during the primary campaign in which he faced former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and then later in the general election.
I don’t recall him using Twitter at the time; indeed, I cannot even remember that particular social medium becoming the tool it has become in the past couple of years.
I wrote at the time of Perry’s decision to stiff the media that we didn’t “take it personally.” I might have to walk that back just a bit. In truth, we did take it as a mild insult. “Who does this guy, Perry, think he is?” we thought at the time.
It turned out to be a stroke of genius. The media had become the whipping child for conservative politicians. Perry became the spokesman for the Stiff the Media crowd.
Newspapers all across the state ended up endorsing Mayor White for governor. White talked to the Globe-News and made a strong case for his candidacy. So, the Globe-News — a longtime ally of Republican politicians — endorsed a Democrat for governor; I say “longtime ally” of GOP pols understanding that in 1994, the newspaper endorsed the late Democratic Gov. Ann Richards in her bid for re-election, which she lost to George W. Bush.
So … sit down, Donald Trump and stop implying that you’re hacking your way through some sort of political wilderness with your continual Twitter tirades. You aren’t the first to stick it to the media.