News The Trump media era ends not with a wow, but a whisper

by James Adams

The problem is that these people are not the ones who matter. The real audience for this stuff is the president of the United States, and if he’s going to be forced to spend time with Trump, then it’s important that he be able to tell him what he thinks of his performance. A lot of people have been wondering about Trump’s ability to cut through the bullshit. I have my doubts about that, but I also know that it’s possible that in this instance, he was able to get away with it because his audience was limited to a group of people who don’t matter very much. It seems unlikely that any other news organization would have run a story about Trump delivering a speech on behalf of President Trump at a White House event—and when they did so, they probably didn’t even know who Trump was—but if they had, there would have been no reason for anyone in the White House press office or any other part of the administration to complain about what happened. Trump is not an important person politically or otherwise; his own party doesn’t seem especially interested in him; and while some people may find his views interesting or even entertaining, there are many others who will find them annoying or offensive. The fact that he could speak at an event without being challenged by anyone suggests that there are few checks on what he can say and do. That makes him dangerous in more ways than one: He can claim things without having to respond to criticism from anyone else; and he can say anything without being challenged by anyone else. It makes him a kind of pirate radio broadcaster during wartime: He gets away with saying whatever he wants because no one can stop him (unless you count calling for impeachment as stopping). The president should absolutely be able to hear what Trump has to say—and should absolutely be able to dismiss it quickly as nonsense—but if he does so, then whatever political benefit might come from an appearance by someone like Trump will be diminished significantly. After all, if Donald Trump doesn’t want Trump talking about politics on Fox News, then why wouldn’t Trump want him talking about politics at a White House event? The answer appears obvious: Because Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch , who also owns The New York Times , and Murdoch doesn’t want Trump associating with Trump because Murdoch doesn’t like anything resembling an insult . But despite Murdoch’s dislike for such things—despite his desire for Twitter users like @davidfrum , @rudygiulliani , @craigcohn , @Danielle_Mertz , @jimgeraghty , @chrislhayes and @HuffPostPol staff members like me (or maybe you?) —Trump still wanted this guy on stage with him after all those tweets . Why? Or rather: What does Trump hope will happen? Here are some possibilities: * Trump believes Murdoch’s insistence regarding “fake news” is just another way of controlling information flow (it isn’t) * The president wants people like me and you watching Fox News so we’ll believe the propaganda coming out of Fox News * The president wants us watching Fox News so we’ll believe everything coming out of Fox News * The president sees Murdoch as part of an international conspiracy against America * In any case: He still believes in “fake news” as something different from “news” * In any case: He still believes in “fake news” as something different from “news” The second possibility above sounds far-fetched but it actually makes sense —in fact, all four possibilities make sense when you think about how much power Donald Trump has concentrated into his own hands since taking office . This isn’t just another conspiracy theory; this isn’t just another piece designed simply to point out how crazy Donald Trump really is ; this isn’t just another piece designed simply to point out how crazy Donald Trump really is . This is something much bigger than that…something much more dangerous than all those other pieces combined…something far more darkly sinister than even I had imagined before reading it over the weekend . And yet…and yet…I keep thinking back over these past few weeks since seeing Jim Geraghty’s piece last week . I keep thinking back over those weeks since listening again over Christmas break when my friend told me she’d heard rumors …and I keep thinking back over those weeks since listening again over Christmas break when my friend told me she’d heard rumors …and I keep thinking back over those weeks since listening again over Christmas break when my friend told me she’d heard rumors …and I keep thinking back over those weeks since listening again over Christmas break when my friend told me she’d heard rumors …and I keep thinking back over those weeks since listening again over Christmas break when my friend told

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