“Let’s just stay very focused on impeachment…[and faced with multiple possible interpretations of current events] we shouldn’t just pretend, oh, this is going one way [or another]. And so all of these moves are toward impeachment.”
— Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, during a daily 8AM conference call in 2019 (obtained by Project Veritas)
The commander in chief knows that to troll the press is to control the narrative.
Flood the zone and the press will drown.
He tweets to set the schedule and program the media. This ultimately is why they are so angry at his tweets.
He doesn’t need the press to get the message out, and everyone knows it. It is also why they’ll do everything in their power to see that President Trump is muzzled and that never again will another conservative be able to use the latest tech to end-run the press.
“This must never happen again,” they tell themselves.
For it isn’t only politicians or self-important bureaucrats who are threatened by the Trump movement and thus determined to derail it but the professional bloggers-for-billionaires, aka the #AmericaLast press.
Indeed, for all the claims that the media is unfair to the forty-fifth president—they are, and it’s worse than you think—it is also undeniable that Trump turns the media into one of his best weapons by feasting on all of the attention he gets, starving his rivals of coverage. Brilliant!
To make news, you must break rules and above all be interesting. President Trump is nothing if not interesting. He makes the news because he breaks the news. He doesn’t worry the public will be offended by him because he knows that the American people are already mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.
This article is an exclusive excerpt from “Firebrand” the new book by Congressman Matt Gaetz.
As the media get played, while Trump throws the stick and they chase it, their resentment builds. Most media work hand in hand with the most devious #NeverTrump operatives. They share a common objective: destroy, defame, and de-platform powerful “America First” messages and messengers. Their misguided ends justify any means. There are no rules in love, war, or the media. The media companies are rival intelligence networks, paid for by oligarchs who lack even the pretense of due process.
If politics is “Hollywood for ugly people,” media is Hollywood for annoying people. The zealot won’t change his mind and won’t change the topic. CNN’s Jeff Zucker knew their mission wasn’t just to record events, not anymore. It was to end the Trump presidency. Impeachment or bust!
America deserves leaders bold enough to make history and journalists disciplined enough to report it. Instead, we get the perverted reverse. Politicians witness the events before them as they empower special interests to run government. Media tycoons don’t want to make a simple record of that or anything else that transpires. They want to make a point. It would probably bore them to be objective.
Jeff Zucker didn’t want his journalists to report like neutral witnesses. He wanted them steering events like advocates. Repeat a narrative (or lie) often enough, especially with the appearance of authority and knowledge that TV news anchors possess, and you may make it reality, or at least shape perceptions of whatever events do come to pass. Meme the dream.
You can sense the reluctance with which news operations surrender their grip on a narrative when it bumps up against facts that don’t fit their preferred story. Journalists often become angry at both their political foes and the stubborn facts that prove those foes know better than the media.
Witness the scandal—brief yet revealing—over a Miami Herald columnist wishing Trump supporters would die from coronavirus.
The thought that some unruly beachgoers might end up having fun during such an important crisis was more than the Herald’s Fabiola Santiago could bear, and she tweeted, “[P]acked beaches should work nicely to thin the ranks of Trump/DeSantis/ Gimenez supporters in #Florida who value money over health.”
She was soon rightly shamed into deleting the tweet and then brayed a phony non-apology apology, as has become all too common: “I deleted the tweet commenting on people at the beach because it didn’t accurately convey my sentiment and I want to apologize for the phrase I used that offended many people. Regardless of political differences, I would never wish any harm on anyone.”
Uh-huh. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what she wished.
At least she apologized, but the Miami Herald as an institution didn’t. They don’t feel the need to because, ultimately, they hate those they cover who don’t see the world as they do. Sometimes, individual reporters, on rare occasions, have to fall on their swords, but the biased organizations employing them keep on going. Bad as government is, at least when we legislators screw up, we get voted out. Not journalists, unless people get so fed up they stop watching. Then the media company seeks a bailout, as many did during coronavirus. Maybe they should produce a product worth buying?
Even when journalists have to apologize for being a little too blatant in their bias, it doesn’t seem to change their subsequent behavior. They aren’t really sorry. ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd had to apologize to me in November 2019—after tweeting that the only reason I’m not a “tool” is that “[t]ools are useful”— then had to apologize again to another political figure just two weeks later. He called New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik “a perfect example why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn’t necessarily get you the leaders we need,” then deleted the tweet as critics condemned it as sexist.
Dowd later promised to be “better,” but I’ll believe it when I see it. Be best, as the First Lady says.
The more Americans think of themselves as a single nation, the more the media strategy of pitting groups against each other fails, which, counterintuitively, helps explain their obsession with Russia. Their goal wasn’t to unite America against a serious foreign threat, as was the case back in the days of the Cold War. The media’s goal, on the contrary, was to convince some Americans that other Americans weren’t really their countrymen, to convince Democrats and moderates that Republicans were dancing on strings pulled by foreign meddlers. Dissent is no longer patriotic if you don’t dissent the way we want you to!
The Left claimed that the 2016 election was stolen from Hillary Clinton by a Russian disinformation campaign, but what is the U.S. media if not a massive disinformation campaign itself, one plainly aimed—as Zucker’s comments make clear—at certain political outcomes? The irony, of course, is that James O’Keefe, the Project Veritas head who the left-wing media say is not a journalist, makes real news about the fake news. They can’t handle it when O’Keefe turns the camera on them.
We accept reporters’ official titles, whether bestowed by themselves or the equally self-promoting organizations they work for. But shouldn’t some of them be called public relations officers of the Democratic Party?
Take Michael Isikoff, who would prefer you call him Yahoo! News’s chief investigative correspondent. Has he really been unearthing buried secrets or is he just an expert mouthpiece for the Democrats’ talking points? Is he a stenographer for power or does he hold power to account? Yahoo is barely a search engine, and Isikoff is barely a journalist.
Conservative journalist Sara Carter notes that Isikoff announces events as if they are exciting scoops, but they are more like press releases the Left wants disseminated. Isikoff recently filed an “exclusive” about Obama fretting in a “private” conference call about the “rule of law” being at risk if charges against former Trump national security advisor Mike Flynn are dropped. Do we really think Obama was unaware Isikoff would report on Obama’s damning pronouncement? Do we really think Isikoff thought he was exposing Obama’s secrets to the world?
This article is an exclusive excerpt from “Firebrand” the new book by Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Flynn, as noted earlier, was entrapped into uttering minor inaccuracies about Russian contacts, then pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI in exchange for other charges against his son being dropped. The anti-Trump crowd would have us believe they were not personally threatened by Flynn’s attempt at reorganizing the intelligence establishment away from its obsession with Russia, but a lot of these people wanted a Cold War with Russia to go on forever because Russia expertise is good for the pocketbooks of the folks in Washington. Chinese is a hard language to learn, man.
The process of stealthily (and sometimes illegally) leaking the establishment’s point of view out via superficially objective stories is par for the course in what passes for journalism, but it’s less like good reporting and more like a CEO telling his PR flacks what to do. A Democratic politician of Obama’s stature can dispense (implicit) marching orders to the journalist-troops as easily and effortlessly as Zucker does to his CNN staff. This politician-media feedback loop is normal for Washington and stretches back to when the press was willing to uphold military secrets or overlook FDR’s paraplegia and JFK’s philandering.
Journalists ought to be free to make whatever partisan arguments they wish, but it would be illuminating for the public to see just how connected these media figures are behind the scenes, how they happily lap up “leaks” from the Democrats that then lead, in a circular fashion, to stories the same Democrats can point to as evidence that where there’s smoke there’s fire, which is how the FISA warrants on the Trump campaign/Russia topic were ginned up. It’s not a very fun game of telephone when the government can use wiretaps and leaks.
And just as journalists should be free to express their opinions about us, so should we enjoy the right to speak freely about them. After all, a free press doesn’t mean a press free from criticism. For an industry built around collecting the scalps of others, they sure seem to have thin skins. It isn’t “attacking the press” to demand that it act responsibly.
When President Trump criticizes professional eye-roller and amateurish CNN host Don Lemon for his intellect, Lemon responds by playing the race card. How original. Lemon’s CNN colleague Chris Cuomo, upon being confronted as a hypocrite for leaving the house while carrying coronavirus, called the passing citizen who caught him a “fat biker loser.”
MSNBC host Joy Reid couldn’t explain homophobic posts on her blog, so she blamed hackers without evidence. When even worse comments were found, blaming the U.S. government for conducting the 9/11 attacks, she talked about her subsequent personal growth. I’m glad Joy has grown. But if she were a conservative, she’d be growing off-air. MSNBC awarding her a new nightly show is remarkable only for the double standard it reveals.