Donald J. Trump in one important way is no different from the 44 men who preceded him as president of the United States of America.
They all disliked, distrusted and at times disrespected the media.
The difference between Trump and those other guys is the tone and tenor of the response he levels at the media for doing their job.
Trump has branded all media that report stories that aren’t totally favorable as “fake news.” Moreover, he is making admittedly superb use of social media to carry that message forward. Beyond that, his base is loving it! The folks who voted for him and who bought into his “tell it like it is” mantra continue to give him a baseline of support that barely creaks under the weight of the negativity that the president heaps onto himself.
Is this guy, though, any different from his predecessors in his dislike of the media? Nope. Not at all.
Every single predecessor — certainly those who served as president during the past 60 or 70 years — have griped openly about the coverage the media provided. Even when they complained, though, many of them did so with a smile/smirk on their face. I believe it was President Franklin Roosevelt who referred to the media’s coverage of his dog Fala, noting how reporters should lay off the presidential pooch.
On and one it has gone.
Do you think President Kennedy wanted the media to cover the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the manner that they did? Of course not. He took the criticism like a man.
President Johnson didn’t much care for the media’s coverage of the Vietnam War, either. He understood the role of a free press and accepted it as part of the job he inherited when his predecessor was gunned down.
I don’t recall hearing President Reagan bitching loudly about the coverage of the Iran-contra controversy.
President Clinton was bombarded with negativity during his eight years in the White House. His wife was a frequent target, too. And occasionally, the media actually poked maliciously at their daughter, for crying out loud.
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also took their share of hits over the course of their combined 16 years in office. And, by the way, President Obama was the victim of actual “fake news” promulgated by the likes of, oh, Donald J. Trump — the originator of the lie he kept telling that Obama was constitutionally ineligible to serve because he was born in a far-off land. Can there be a greater example of presidential hypocrisy than that?
The rules of president-media engagement have changed in the Age of Trump. The media are doing the job the U.S. Constitution allows them to do. The president doesn’t like what they report, so he — in effect — defames reporters and editors for serving the public interest.
Worst of all? The complainer in chief is getting away with it!