Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Trump and the media, the sequel

Jerry Stratton, August 17, 2016

Donald Trump lied

In California drought caused by lack of rain and progressive government, but mostly progressive government I wrote, in response to Donald Trump’s statements about California’s self-inflicted drought crisis:

I have no idea if Trump is just bloviating and doesn’t know what he’s talking about, occasionally randomly hitting the truth; or if he is, as Scott Adams thinks, crafty enough to realize that he has to preface truths with controversies that hook the media into reporting his statements.

Trump gets on the news where more reasoned speakers, such as Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz, don’t. The media enjoys ridiculing their opponents, and does not enjoy engaging in substantive discussions.

Whether he knew it at the time or not, he’s definitely figured it out. Recently, Trump took the obvious criticisms of President Obama’s Middle-East retreat policy, that it fueled the growth of ISIS, one step further and said that Obama and Hillary Clinton “founded” ISIS.

Donald Trump got, predictably, media attention for that statement. On the Hugh Hewitt show, he affirmed that he meant “founded”. Hewitt disagreed with the term:

HH: …I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.

DT: Well, I disagree.

HH: All right, that’s okay.

DT: I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about.

HH: That’s…

DT: If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.

HH: That’s true.

DT: Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.

HH: And that’s, I’d just use different language to communicate it…

DT: But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?

So Trump knows that making these outrageous statements gets him air time where more reasonable statements do not.

This is one of the bedrock conservative principles: you get what you pay for. You get the behavior you reward. The media rewards outrageous statements, so they get outrageous statements.

They claimed they wanted reasoned and calm debate, up until Fred Thompson ran. Then they ignored and ridiculed his reasoned and calm debate. It’s worth quoting Patterico’s takedown of the media from that election year:

These people are full of it. The next time they tell you they care about the issues and matters of substance, remind them how they treated Fred Thompson. They won’t show any shame. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show them that you know better.

The media really wants Trump to stick to the script. The Washington Examiner even put those words into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s mouth for a headline: the article has no quote from Walker to back the headline up. Which is ironic, because Walker’s mistake in the primaries was following the script the consultant class laid out for him. He was originally my first choice in the primaries, but his speeches were so obviously scripted down to scripted outrage that I changed my mind, along with most of his other supporters. It wasn’t him. He had been sucked in by the consultant class and told to act like someone he was not, rather than the person who had won three elections in Wisconsin.

Following the script is definitely the wrong thing to do. Following the script means letting the media ignore the Republican; it means letting the media choose the battlefield and choose the weapons. It means letting the media define the candidate.

Whether Trump’s practice of prefacing truths with lies to trick the media into reporting the truth will work is hard to say. I am amazed that, with Hillary Clinton having spent $61 million on advertising so far, and Trump having spent nothing, the polls are as close as they are. I don’t see how that can be a good strategy.

Of course, the media don’t like that Trump isn’t giving them advertising money, either. They don’t like when he speaks, and they don’t like that he doesn’t pay them to speak.

In response to Election 2016: Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.

  1. <- Democrat membership scam
  2. The Epaminondas Campaign ->