The press doesn’t just have Trump Derangement Syndrome. They now have full-blown Trump Psychosis. And like most people with serious disorders, they are teetering close to the brink of self-immolation.
Nothing could have been more apparent in the president’s press conference Thursday. Almost none of the reporters were able to muster up a question without sounding adversarial or biased. One of them went so far as to pretend he was asking a neutral question, and then accused Trump of not being tough on anti-Semitism — the sleaziest canard on the block, and patently ridiculous given the president’s actions. (Hello! Didn’t the guy see the press conference with Netanyahu?)
And when they did contort themselves to ask a question with seeming impartiality, you could see the strain all over their faces, as if they were doing a favor so great they deserved a Papal dispensation.
More interesting, however, were the big-timers — the media bulls to Trump’s matador. CBS’ Major Garrett jumped on the president with a series of questions — what did he think of the Russian spy ship off our coast, etc. — in an effort to further the liberal/left’s current (and truly bizarre for them, considering American history, recent and otherwise) “Trump loves Russia” meme. Obviously, Garrett was searching for the holiest of grails — PROOF that Donald conspired with Vladimir to win the U.S. election.
Besides the fact that’s not happening, the repeated, absurd gotcha game about Russia is having the opposite effect, as Trump pointed out, in the real world of geopolitics.
Not that the media cares. It’s not about America. It’s only about them.
Putin — like anyone else with a brain — watches what’s going on in our public sphere, and naturally concludes Donald Trump now has no room to negotiate with Russia and acts accordingly. Hence, the spy ship, etc.
In a sense, the media has gotten exactly what it wished for on Russia — at everybody else’s expense.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, Trump looked out at his audience and said (paraphrasing) “Does anyone seriously believe I wouldn’t be more tough on Putin than Hillary Clinton?” She of the red reset button? There was no response from the press corps, none that I could hear on television, anyway. You can bet that remark will not appear on Thursday night’s evening network news where the press conference will be selectively edited. It didn’t even appear on Fox News’ extended post-conference coverage where Shepard Smith, the network’s most extreme resident Trump hater, chose to focus on what he considered the reprehensible inconsistency between Trump’s attacks on illegal leaks and the then-candidate’s enthusiasm for the Wikileaks revelations during the campaign. Smith ignored that in this case the leaks involved private communications between heads of state recorded by agents of our government — not office gossip.
The press in general believes and acts as if they are a protected class. But this leads to them behaving like bulls at a corrida, rushing around everywhere, attacking every possible target until the matador arrives, focusing their attention. Yes, Trump gives them plenty of possible targets — more than he should and doubtless would like to. On this particular occasion, he blabbed on about having won more electoral votes than anyone since Reagan, when he didn’t. But this obscures the larger issues on which he is so often right and in sync with the public. And on this day, he was able to play the press like a picador, banderillero, and matador all rolled into one.
Before they get into the arena again, the press would be best to remember this: Whatever your attitude toward bullfighting (I used to like it, now I don’t), ninety-nine percent of the time the matador wins.
CORRECTION: As several have pointed out, I misheard the question from the Jewish (Haredi) reporter concerning the rise in anti-Semitism. He wasn’t being challenging, just a bit convoluted. In these heated times, I, like others, jumped to conclusions. So, apparently, did Trump who, in his defense, has been peppered with false accusations about race, religion, etc. Personally, I will try to be more careful in the future. We are all riding the whirlwind at the moment.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. You can find him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.