Donald Trump and the Short Attention Span Media
Donald Trump is still under fire from liberals for his unprecedented phone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. Now they’re saying that this was some kind of shady deal Bob Dole put together because his law firm advocates on behalf of the Taiwanese government. As if you could find any area of foreign or domestic policy that isn’t tainted with paid opinions. Meanwhile, though, we’re supposed to take the assertions of Chinese state media very, very seriously. Makes sense.
We’re probably going to hear about this for a while, simply because the mainstream media is embarrassed about their initial narrative. Last Friday, you could see the manic gleam in Rachel Maddow’s eye as she offered viewers two possibilities: One, Donald Trump is so uninformed and reckless that he accepted the call without knowing current U.S. diplomatic policy. Or he’s informed and reckless, and he just upended 40 years of U.S.-China relations without any warning to the American people or the current U.S. president. For the first day or two, Maddow and the rest of the liberal media speculated on which possibility was true…and which one was more terrifying.
As it turned out, it was their reporting that was uninformed and reckless. By the end of the weekend, it was established that not only did Trump go into the call with his eyes wide open but that his team had been planning the move even before he was elected. Furthermore, it did not represent an official policy shift. It was both “just a phone call,” as Kellyanne Conway put it, and quite a bit more than that. It was a message sent directly to the heart of Communist Beijing: A new day has arrived.
It’s not clear why so many of Trump’s critics seem shocked and befuddled by this move. Even if you get all of your news from Saturday Night Live, you would know that Trump has been hammering China for a year and a half. It’s the best part of Alec Baldwin’s otherwise-shaky impression: “Ghina!” Why would it be a surprise that he would do exactly what he said?
There’s this funny thing going on lately where the media is trying to figure out how to cover Trump. They’re getting bashed by Corey Lewandowski and others for taking the president-elect too “literally.” The bigger problem is that the media keeps covering him in this “What crazy crap did Trump say today!?” fashion that precludes any effort to take him seriously. Reporters are determined to view everything Trump does through the worst possible lens. Whether that’s to drum up “doomsday” ratings, help the Democrats, or both, it is destroying America’s faith in the fourth estate.
The “ratings” angle may actually be more harmful than the liberal bias. Because that leads the press to treat everything Trump says as BREAKING NEWS. And to justify that banner, the TV talking heads have to pretend that there is no history beyond, say, two weeks ago.
OMG, can you believe what Trump said about China on Twitter? Well, yeah. He’s been saying it since July 2015. Where the hell were you guys?
If you could boil Trump’s entire campaign down to one phrase, it might be: “Our politicians are a bunch of corrupt idiots and I’m going to do things a lot differently.”
As promised, so delivered.