by Jon Caldara
Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator. Bill Clinton was dubbed the first rock ‘n’ roll president. Well, Donald Trump is the first reality TV president.
Fake, petty conflict is the mainstay of reality TV, and our president is a master. He uses the media to delivery his message directly to the people, sadly, in a language modern Americans understand.
In his bizarre video tweet last Sunday, Trump sandbagged CNN’s corporate logo, atop a human body, at a fake wrestling match. Keep in mind he didn’t hold the symbolic decapitated head of comedian Kathy Griffin. He didn’t act out a gruesome murder, like New York’s Shakespeare in the Park performers of “Julius Caesar” do to him every night. He didn’t suggest blowing up the White House, as Madonna did.
He attacked a corporate logo. If Bernie Sanders did it to the logo of Fox News or McDonald’s, leftists would’ve loved it.
The media served as the useful idiot, delivering his anti-media meme far and wide. Adding insult to their injury, the media didn’t laugh it off or lean into it. They went into predictive, whiny victim mode.
“It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters,” CNN said in a statement. ABC News’ chief political analyst Matthew Dowd claimed Trump is “advocating violence against media.” The Washington Post wrote the headline “Trump appears to promote violence against CNN with tweet.” Blah, blah.
A call to violence? Really?
Hey, media — do you really take yourself that seriously? We don’t. A poll by Emerson College found 49 percent of registered voters believed the Trump administration to be truthful, yet only 39 percent believed the media truthful. Ouch.
Ever try to tell an alcoholic he’s a boozer when he doesn’t want to hear it? That ain’t nothing compared to trying to get a reporter to see the elitist bubble in which they live.
Almost every reporter I know readily admits, privately, they’re liberal. They know that nearly everyone they work with in the newsroom is also liberal, albeit at different gradations. Yet they honestly believe their product doesn’t push their ideological agenda. They say their professionalism protects their personal political leanings from seeping into their work.
And Uncle Billy tells us he’s not a drunk and he’s fine to drive.
Colorado Public Radio is a prime example of this media bubble. As newspapers dwindle, many of us see public radio as a replacement for reliable local news. I really like the crew at CPR; they are good earnest folks. But who can stomach the constantly self-congratulating promos on CPR that paint the picture of wildly curious reporters working hard to bring us all sides of the story?
CPR values diversity — we’re told that lie repeatedly in every request for donations. And certainly, their newsroom staff represents the rainbow of genders, race and sexual orientation, as if that matters to objective reporting. But ideological diversity? None.
Forty-three percent of Coloradans voted for Donald Trump. I’ve been told by several CPR reporters that not one person in their newsroom voted for Trump. Yes, I can see the surprise in your face.
It would be unthinkable to Colorado Public Radio not to have even one minority, or woman, or gay on their news team. But not one conservative?
Is it any surprise CPR reported on all the benefits of the Colorado Hospital Provider Fee sell-out without mentioning it’s costing taxpayers over half a billion dollars and putting us in debt? Their tantrum over Trump pulling from the Paris Climate Accords was epic. They spent a week spotlighting all the victims of Trump’s proposed budget. And the sound effects and music add to the emotional impact of the “news.”
It’s not their fault. They will never see their blind spots, this bubble they’re in, without doing the hard work to find and hire a couple of reporters who favor limited government.
Given that they can always find the perfect left-handed, transsexual, vegan, native American, at-risk, homeless poet dedicated to fighting climate change to interview, they can find a fiscal libertarian reporter to hire.
Unless they’re intolerant.
This article originally appeared in the Denver Post on July 7, 2017.