In case you’re under some kind of illusion that Donald Trump now has a clear path to the presidency, let me enlighten you about what has likely been set in motion tonight. First, let’s take a look back at Barack Obama’s first election. Do you remember when the media set aside their journalistic standards and became full-time sycophants for Obama? They ignored Obama’s ties to radicals like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and put Obama’s campaign ahead of the best interest of the country. Sure, they’re all Democrats and leftists, but this was extreme, even for them. They wore their Obama love openly on their sleeves (or in Chris Matthews’ case, on his quivering thigh). The extent to which they were open about their favoritism was shocking at the time, even to those of us who are aware of the bias that is built into the MSM system. These media outlets (CNN, NBC, CBS, The New York Times, et al.) were willing to sacrifice ratings in order to get Obama elected.
Fox News made a name for itself by being the “fair and balanced” network. Conservatives found a place where their views were represented, although the station did have a representative selection of liberals to balance out the conservative point of view. Then along came the 2016 primary and the Trump circus. News stations and talk radio hosts quickly realized that if you put a reality TV star on your show, your ratings will go up. Even better (for them, not for America): if you put a reality star who regularly says completely unhinged things on our show, your ratings will go through the roof. Sadly, Fox became the worst Trump-ratings whore in the cable news business.
I became concerned about this phenomenon early on, saying that there would at some point come a tipping point after which this so called Trump train could not be turned back (the Titanic is probably a better metaphor here). Allegedly conservative media outlets were playing a dangerous game by flirting with Trump ratings spikes. I kept hoping that they would eventually pull it back and start exposing how unstable—and liberal—Trump is, but on and on it went as qualified, talented GOP candidates were destroyed by a man who was allowed—and even encouraged—to throw out the most outrageous (and untrue) statements about his opponents, mostly unchallenged. Trump was given almost unlimited airtime and was treated with kid gloves as his interviewers deferentially asked “Mr. Trump” easy questions and rarely asked follow-ups when his answers were inconsistent. They blushed in his presence and went out of their way not to offend him, lest the candidate (and the ratings gravy train) abandon them. They continued to give him air time, even after he refused to man-up and participate in debate.
But all that changed tonight. Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, according to Reince Priebus, and we’re about to enter a new phase in the race. Here’s how it will likely play out:
Fox News: Likely feeling the pressure from people like Mark Levin who have been accusing them of being the “Donald Trump Super PAC,” Fox last week began grumbling about how the other candidates were limiting interview time and refusing to be at their beck and call like their beloved Trump, who has nothing better to do than appear on the news (when he’s not mean-tweeting in the middle of the night). Of course, no sane candidate (the word sane used intentionally here) would spend that much time with the media. For any candidate not a reality TV star or named Barack Obama it would be political suicide. A Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio would not have been wise to spend all day, every day being grilled by George Stephanopoulos or Trump acolyte Sean Hannity, who would not have given them the slobbering love affair treatment Trump has received from them. But Fox wants you to think that it’s all the candidates’ fault that Donald Trump has been foisted on the country. Their hands are clean. (This messaging shift has nothing to do with their tanking ratings and their desperate need to get you back from CNN….really, nothing!).
CNN: Look for a new daily show (perhaps hosted by Sanjay Gupta) dedicated to dissecting the mental competence of Donald Trump. Expect to see every mental health professional on the eastern seaboard paraded across the set testifying that Trump—who cites the National Enquirer like it’s a Department of Defense security briefing—is certifiably nuts. Narcissism? Check. Delusions of grandeur? BIG check. Multiple personality disorder? Could be. And why doesn’t he sleep? Could it be a guilty conscience? A drug problem? Just how dangerous is chronic sleep deprivation? Been abducted by aliens? (Hey, he started this National Enquirer stuff, so fair game, right?) It’s not going to be pretty, folks. Never forget, their first priority is getting the Democrat elected. A close second is ratings. This checks both boxes for them. (Don’t worry, they’ll be fair and spend some time on Hillary, mostly talking about her resilience in the face of trials.)
ABC: “Good Morning America” will become the de facto opposition research arm of the Hillary Clinton campaign. If you think the Democrats don’t have vaults of dirt on Trump squirreled away just waiting for the general election, I’m guessing you’re smoking something. He can’t pay off all of the “top women in the world” he’s slept with and some of them are going to talk, as will some of the business associates he’s wronged over the years. George Stephanopoulos will relish the opportunity to be the chief purveyor of Trump gossip as he plays TV host while acting as a Clinton operative. (Look for frequent TMZ segments.)
This Trump tsunami is going to come crashing down between now and the convention in Cleveland in July. It may not play out exactly as I’ve described above, but there will undoubtedly be some version of this. The left (and their partners in crime in the media) are going to destroy him. They are not going to stand by and take a chance that Hillary Clinton will not become president. They may not like Hillary, but they know she’ll reliably protect their dual sacraments—abortion on demand and LGBT rights. They have no idea what Trump will do, but they won’t risk losing the ground they’ve gained with Obama (especially on the courts) to a giant, unstable question mark. The knives are being sharpened as we speak.