The Scene: Donald Trump entered the room with his kids Ivanka, Eric, and Donald, Jr. in tow along with his attorney, press secretary Sean Spicer and Vice President-to-be Mike Pence. The room is fire-marshall-alerting packed with the media taut and ready to pounce like starved hyenas. It’s been eight years to build up this hunger. It’s been eight years of lovingly grooming Obama when they’re not resting on his lap and being petted.
The Action: Sean Spicer starts with a blistering rebuke of the media–especially Buzzfeed. He decried their bias and baseless reporting. Mike Pence follows up and the introduces President-elect Trump. Strangely, people clap. It had seemed liked the room was only filled with reporters, but evidently not. There were also fans there? Difficult to tell via C-Span.
President-elect Trump comes to the podium and reiterates his disgust with the media, but not all of them. He likes some of them more now. He hands over the press conference to his attorney who lays out that Trump’s sons Eric and Don will run his companies, that Donald won’t be involved, that they won’t be selling assets, that they won’t pursue overseas work. Business building in America is still open, though.
Meanwhile, there are two hearings going on Capital Hill–one for Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, one for Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Notes about those: Rubio is tearing into Tillerson. The media is responding as though he’s not convincing them. I’ve been watching the hearing and don’t get it. Tillerson comes across as measured and intelligent. Over at the Jeff Sessions
trial hearing, the usual suspects hate him which Lindsey Graham humorously revealed by reading the list of ACLU ratings for various Senators.
Back in New York, things got tense. It’s too difficult to adequately describe the full meltdown of CNN’s correspondent when trying to ask a question of Mr. Trump, so here’s the video.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 11, 2017
“You are fake news!” Mr. Trump yelled at the CNN reporter and called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage.”
All heck broke loose among the reporters, with many screeching and trying to ask questions.
It was glorious.
Mr. Trump said [and I’m paraphrasing] that the media is attacking, but that he has this [he was pointing to his microphone] and can fight back. He alluded to the people who couldn’t fight back when attacked by the left and media. Mr. Trump is genuinely offended for how the press has not only treated him, but those who are helpless against a careless media.
Having watched the media destroy innocent people and move along, and conversely let a corrupt administration slide, Mr. Trump’s indictment of the press is welcome. There will be a time to worry about press freedom, but today is not that day. Today, the media should do some soul searching and consider their own careless behavior. Being loose with the facts, shamelessly biased (these were the people crying at Obama’s last speech), and ideologically extreme leftist does not inform so much as alienate people who are trying to be informed. Media reformation is necessary and if it takes Mr. Trump’s stick and carrot to move them in the right direction–well, it’s a start.
The Result: The press conference was orchestrated by a man who knows how to turn a phrase and control the room. He was masterful in his nuanced responses. Here’s an example:
Trump’s position, ostensibly: “Putin likes me. That’s good. I don’t know if I like him. If I don’t, I’ll be a badass.” Rhetorically clever.
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 11, 2017
Here, Trump gives himself an out about how he’ll feel about Putin. He hopes it will be a good relationship, but if not…oh well. Then he asked a rhetorical question,”Do you really think Hillary would be tougher on Putin? Come on.” He then made fun of the red reset button.
Trump may not know things but he’s no dummy. He drove the narrative today, again. He took some heat off of his nominees and guaranteed that the news cycle would be dominated by his theatrics.
The media is offended, outraged, and generally aghast. The American people will enjoy this show–until they don’t. The press’ job is to win back their trust. If they’re expecting Americans to be upset by their treatment at Donald Trump’s “tiny” hands, they’re in a dense bubble, indeed. It’s going to take a while for them to reorient themselves in this new world.
Meanwhile, sit back and make some popcorn. It’s going to be fun.