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Knives have been drawn and targets carefully selected. To ask what kind of relationship President Donald Trump and the corporate mainstream media will have is a non-starter. We already know the answer: unrelenting trench warfare with no prisoners taken. Both parties take this state of affairs for granted and both are prepared. Prediction: the loser in this contest will be the legacy media.
The media have always had a thing for Trump. For all his life Trump has been the subject of titillating interest: rich kid who became even richer, a lady’s man surrounded by platinum blonds, a garish television celebrity, brash businessman turned political novice and finally a vigilantly populist politician who will reside in the White House. At times there were moments when a modicum of respect was bestowed, but for the most part Trump has been treated as a public figure to be snickered at and the target of scorn. During the presidential campaign Trump was underestimated and labeled by a set of “isms” manufactured by an increasingly closed-minded academia and sold by Hollywood’s politically correct culture wars. Nonetheless, Trump is standing tall and looming over all.
The media’s treatment of Trump will not change; in fact the media is already doubling down on its strategy to de-legitimize all things Trump. To do otherwise would demand some introspection and assessment why the media completely failed in its journalistic responsibilities during the election cycle. It refuses to ask why it failed to correctly read the sentiment of the voters. It refuses to acknowledge the groupthink of the media is at odds with the values of millions of citizens. It refuses to admit it was in the pocket of the Clinton Machine. Rather than be contrite the media will blame all of its commissions and omissions on Trump and his supporters.
Don’t expect the media to cover the Trump presidency in a conventional way. After all, we know the media intentionally didn’t cover the Trump campaign in a conventional way. The use of the “conventional” should be understood as intentionally distorting Trump’s message and actions. This approach furthers two goals: to function as a filter (mis)interpreting the Trump presidency and as a means to convince the voters they made a mistake voting for Trump and should of have listened to the media and its liberal message.
But it won’t work. As during the campaign such a strategy will backfire.
Trump should continue to do what he has done all along – ignore the corporate media and reach out directly to citizens. Trump’s greatest talent has always been selling himself and ignoring his detractors. This strategy will highlight two very different narratives – Trump’s genuine message and the media’s manufactured caricature Trump. We saw this during the election and the media was expose for what it is – a fraud. As he enters the White House the scorecard stands at Trump 1: corporate media 0. Keep passing the popcorn….
Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His views may or may not reflect those of his employer.