WASHINGTON, February 18, 2017 — At the conclusion of the Second World War, a weary President Harry Truman signed an executive order changing the design of the Presidential Seal. It was minor but profound: the eagle’s head would forever face its right claw, which holds the olive branch of peace, ignoring the one clutching the arrows of war.
Thursday, standing near the banner bearing his seal of office, President Donald Trump held a long 77-minute news conference. Without a doubt, it was the best such event between a sitting Republican president and the nation’s press in, well, ever. And the president was not holding an olive branch.
While the scribblers of the mainstream media stared in stunned disbelief, President Trump said:
“Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people – tremendous disservice. We have to talk about it to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control.”
Back in 1976, Gallup asked Americans if they trusted the nation’s mass media. 72 percent of respondents said they believed in journalistic integrity and the honesty of press reporting. But last September, 68 percent said they had little faith in the media’s ability to “report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”
As Trump said during his press conference:
“Now, maybe I had something to do with that, I don’t know, but they [the American people] don’t believe you.”
This, of course, triggered a media meltdown.
“Why is he attacking all media, all the time except his favs, like “Fox and Friends” and [syndicated columnist Charles] Krauthammer – the neocon writer?” asked MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
The word “neocon” doubles as a code word among members of the extreme left and right meaning “damned, dirty Jew.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted, “This is not a laughing matter. I’m sorry, delegitimizing the press is un-American.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulous noted, “What a remarkable window into the state of mind of the President of the United States right there… lashed out at the press, made it very clear he thinks the press is dishonest… never seen anything like that.”
The New York Times analysis was slightly more on point, crediting the president for luring “a few reporters into a trap of debating the quality of their reporting as opposed to the merits of their original questions.”
Yes, the press IS the story.
The left-leaning media admitted as much when it began its campaign against so-called “fake news.” If you belong to an information outlet not associated with ABC, NBC, CBS and the New York Times, by definition you are branded “fake.” That’s because we are to take as gospel that the aforementioned news outlets are the arbiters of truth.
Trump blows that assertion all to hell by labeling the biased reporting of CNN and others, aided by leaks from U.S. intelligence services, “fake news.”
“RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”
So wrote the preeminent strategist of the American left, Saul Alinsky, in his “Rules for Radicals.”
“History,” it’s said, “is written by the victor.” Less than a month after taking office, President Trump is determined to be victorious in his war with a biased media. To do so, he must first confront the Democratic Party’s propaganda wing (the mainstream media), “pick the target, freeze it” and continue slashing away at its already eroding credibility.
The banner bearing the Presidential Seal stood behind and to President Donald Trump’s left as he began his Thursday news conference. By its conclusion, I thought I saw its eagle facing the arrows of war.