WASHINGTON, January 6, 2017 — The new Democratic Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, recently told reporters, “With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency. Many Americans are afraid, Mr. President-elect, that instead of rolling up your sleeves and forging serious policies … Twitter suffices.”
Joseph Bernstein at BuzzFeed says, “The most powerful publication in the world today is Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account. In the past six weeks, it has moved the markets, conducted shadow foreign policy, and reshaped the focus of media around the world … it caused Toyota’s stock to drop. It is also shockingly insecure.”
Bernstein adds that a “geopolitically motivated” hacker “could tweet favorably or unfavorably about a country or leader … and alter foreign affairs.”
New York Times reporter Farhad Manjoo is less subtle. “As a corporation, Twitter is under no First Amendment obligation to let Mr. Trump use the service. It gets to make its own set of speech rules within its own walls, and among those rules is a prohibition on using the service to incite harassment.”
Manjoo said members of the Fourth Estate worry Trump tweets may affect their safety, “When Mr. Trump posts that individual journalists are dummies or hacks or unfair, it’s possible that some of his followers may see those messages as a nudge to online or even offline action.”
A petition posted on the website Change.org asked Twitter to suspend Trump’s account because his “tweets against the Muslim community are causing real harm and promoting Islamophobia … Come on, deep down you know he will f*%ck anyone over to advance his motives.”
The petition drive ended after falling 168 signatures short of the 500 required to move it forward.
When ABC News asked Sean Spicer, tapped to be Trump’s White House press secretary, if his boss planned to scale back his Twitter musings after taking the oath of office, replied, “You know what? The fact of the matter is that when he tweets, he gets results.”
That is understandable considering Trump has 18.8 million Twitter followers. The New York Times, in stark contrast, has a paltry 1.1 million print and digital subscribers.
In the early 1900s, editor Lyman Abbot recalled a meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt in which the president read a portion of a speech he planned to make to Congress, “He suddenly stopped, swung round in his chair and said, ‘I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit.”
When the old Rough Rider spoke of “critics,” he meant his political and corporate rivals.
But as New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg admitted, the press has evolved from chroniclers of fact to enforcers of the new morality, a.k.a., political correctness:
“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes … then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known.”
Two months before the presidential election, the Gallup organization found that only 32 percent of Americans trusted the news media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”
If Trump’s presidential campaign accomplished anything, it was to unmask the mainstream media as the biased and comically over-the-top propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.
That is why Trump said, via twitter, “If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to ‘tweet.’ Sadly, I don’t know if that will ever happen!”
Chuck Schumer’s quip that “America cannot afford a Twitter presidency” might have more to do with his having a mere 210,000 Twitter followers compared to Trump’s millions.
It might also have something to do with Trump’s recent tweet describing him as the Senate’s “head clown.” That statement from the Trump Twitter pulpit may have earned Schumer invitations to join big-top circuses, not to mention lecturing stints at clown colleges, from all across this great nation