Trump’s attack on the media as a microcosm of how it works in the White House

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According to reporting by the Washington Post and others, Donald Trump has supported roughly the same policy regarding the press for perhaps his entire presidency. Since Trump has always hated the press, especially the New York Times, I’d argue that there has not been a change in his policy as far back as the first hints of his involvement with Russia, in the mid 1980s, or before.

Trump has on numerous occasions told his staff to ban specific reporters because he did not like the questions they asked. He told his followers to physically attack reporters during he campaign. He has wanted the press to bow down to him, and he’s wanted to harm the press in a variety of ways, all along.

However, it was only just a couple of days ago that a White House reporter was actually banned from an event, and it was only earlier today that Trump carried out his most extensive and violent Twitter attack on members of the press.

It may be that his rhetoric is set on high right now because the pressure is on. His closest long term confident, whom he abused in recent months, has turned on him and told what appears to be the truth about activities that have a good chance of landing Trump in prison at some point later on. The trial of his campaign manager is going to start in less than two days. And so on.

But the real difference between several months ago and now is the degree to which Trump’s staff is willing, now, to carry out his nefarious wishes, as opposed to then, when the refused to do so, or talked him out of it. This may be partly facilitated by the addition of Bill Shine to the communications staff.

Shine comes from Fox News. While at fox, he produced Hannity’s show. Also, Shine is the fifth person in his position, and I’m pretty sure that is a high rate of turnover for White House Communications Director. Since the beginning of the position (Her Klein was the first, serving in 1969 for Richard Nixon) the average say for a White House Communications Director (or staffer of similar though slightly varying name) is about 1.75 years. The position has changed hands six times since Trump has been president.

Trump is like a pressure cooker. His staff is like those little doohickeys that rattle around on the top of the pressure cooker.

By the way, even Fox News complained about the banning of a White House Press Corps reporter from an event.

Anyway, I’m sure everything else is like this. Trump is constantly being held back by those around him. I assume there are two reasons they do so.

1) They are not as bad as him and want to slow him down so he does less damage.

2) They are at least as bad as he is, but they are not, like Trump, quite as dumb as a brick, and they know that taking blatant action as he would want will cause too much trouble, and interfere with their evil agenda.

The question is, what is the ratio of Type 1 to Type 2 White House Staff?

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8 thoughts on “Trump’s attack on the media as a microcosm of how it works in the White House

  1. >a good chance of landing Trump in prison at some point later on.

    I don’t think that’ll be happening. Trump came into office knowing that his transition team was being spied on. He will take a lot of people down before you could even try to pin a crime on him.

    Lisa Page to Peter Strzok text message- Mike Rogers visited Trump Tower yesterday.

    Seems all innocent, but why do they care what the head of NSA was doing?

    Well, you see Rogers likely informed Trump he was being spied on, and that night the transition team was moved out of Trump Tower to a Trump golf club in New Jersey, breaking much of their spying.

  2. Gessen’s “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” felt disturbingly prescient when it ran on Nov 10, 2016. Now it is unfolding….”The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access. There is no good solution (even if there is a right answer), for journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information.

    The power of the investigative press—whose adherence to fact has already been severely challenged by the conspiracy-minded, lie-spinning Trump campaign—will grow weaker. The world will grow murkier. Even in the unlikely event that some mainstream media outlets decide to declare themselves in opposition to the current government, or even simply to report its abuses and failings, the president will get to frame many issues. Coverage, and thinking, will drift in a Trumpian direction, just as it did during the campaign—when, for example, the candidates argued, in essence, whether Muslim Americans bear collective responsibility for acts of terrorism or can redeem themselves by becoming the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. Thus was xenophobia further normalized, paving the way for Trump to make good on his promises to track American Muslims and ban Muslims from entering the United States.”

  3. ‘Your surviving spy must be a man of keen intellect, though in outward appearance a fool; of shabby exterior, but with a will of iron. He must be active, robust, endowed with physical strength and courage; thoroughly accustomed to all sorts of dirty work, able to\ endure hunger and cold, and to put up with shame and ignominy.’

  4. As has been repeatedly explained, there was no spy. Conspiracy mongers keep repeating that one existed but there is nothing to support their assertions.

  5. “It may be that his rhetoric is set on high right now because the pressure is on.”

    And when the pressure is on he attacks, diverts, and denies.

    These days Trump seems to be surprising his staff, taking off and crashing on his own, so their role seems to be making him aware that he’s made a mess and trying to clean up after him. There’s a clear disjuncture between what Trump claims his policies will achieve and what they achieve. More troubling is the disjuncture between how Trump thinks people react and how they react. He wants to believe that his rallies express the vox populi, but at the same time he makes a conscientious effort to avoid protests and challenging questions.

    Part of the pressure stems from the frustrating reality that being president isn’t the same as being the glorified CEO of a bigger Trump Organization. I think he expected unquestioning loyalty and that his position would give him the right to control the Justice Department. Part of the pressure stems from the discrepancy between the world of Trump’s nostalgia and the world as it is. I don’t think he expected that the targets of his trade war would strike back.

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