Call it trolling, or media manipulation, whatever you like, but Donald Trump did a number on the media earlier this morning.
It began yesterday with an interview in the Washington Post in which the Birther issue was raised again. Recall that in 2011, Donald Trump led the charge which culminated in President Obama producing his long form birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States.
The Washington Post asked Trump whether or not he believed Obama was born in the US, and he declined to confirm, saying that it wasn’t the right time to answer the question.
This led to the media sharpening the knives, ready to pounce. Momentum started gathering last night about Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Obama’s citizenship and what it meant with respect to his racism and bigotry, the usual nonsense.
Then, this morning, Trump tweeted this:
I am now going to the brand new Trump International, Hotel D.C. for a major statement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2016
The Trump campaign then intimated that he was going to be addressing the birther issue. That sent the media into a frenzy, sensing their moment had arrived. From the start of the Trump campaign one of the things that has infuriated the media the most has been Trump’s refusal to apologize for anything.
To be sure, he has been entirely correct in not apologizing, even when he has been in the wrong. The reason is that once he does, he succumbs to the frame of the left/media, thus empowering them to bully him into submission. Lesser Republicans, and other public figures in general have been beaten down in this manner for years, and the fact that Trump has refused to comply has been refreshing.
Going into this, however, the media clearly was expecting different. They thought they were going to get a Jimmy Swaggart ‘I have sinned’ moment. Instead they got classic Trump.
The press conference was held at Trump’s new DC hotel, and one of the first things Trump did was to let the the audience know that it had been completed under budget, and ahead of schedule. He then turned the mic over to a series of retired generals, admirals and Medal of Honor recipients. One by one, these individuals stepped to the podium and were permitted to say a few words about their time in service, and why they were choosing to put their names and careers behind the Trump campaign.
This went on for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, some of the news broadcasts cut out of the press conference to express their disappointment over the fact that Trump was pulling a fast one on them. Here’s Jake Tapper, visibly disturbed that CNN had been ‘rickrolled’:
Trump did return to the microphone after what was probably an hour of veterans speaking their minds on stage. He said a few more words, and then went into the birther issue. Of that he said the following:
Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.
That was it. No lengthy statement of contrition. No expression of remorse or sadness, no tearful regrets. Just a point blank statement and an abrupt moving on to more important things.
With that, the press conference ended, and Trump left, without taking any questions. And the fireworks began. The media, who had been salivating over what it thought would be their moment to derail the Trump campaign for good, got nothing.
There was outrage over the fact that Trump didn’t say he was sorry. Outrage over the fact that he did a drive-by addressing of what to them was one of the biggest issues of the moment. Outrage over the fact that he took no questions. This immediate reaction from CBS was indicative of the way the news media reacted:
The anger in his voice notwithstanding, he is right about the fact that no matter what Trump did, the controversy would linger. If Trump continued to say nothing, effectively maintaining his skepticism over Obama’s birth, he would have been hounded about it constantly in the press. The Clinton campaign would have been able to use it over and over again, to perhaps create a memorable moment in a debate scenario.
Trump had to address it, but at the same time he had to do so without getting on his knees to kiss the feet of the media/leftists as I mentioned earlier.
He accomplished this with his curt ‘statement,’ which was so brilliant because it did so many things at once. It was an official acknowledgement of Obama’s birthplace, which now takes away any power the media/Clinton campaign had. Their excitement over having Trump ‘cornered’ in the buildup to this event was indicative of how much they had banked on this being a weapon to down Trump with.
Now, when the media/Clinton bring it up, Trump can point to the fact that he, indeed has acknowledged Obama’s birth in a public manner. Any further pressing of Trump then becomes petty and unnecessarily punitive on Trump.
The event also highlighted further how in the tank the media is for the Clinton campaign. Furthermore, the event shed a revealing light on their character, given they essentially threw a tantrum over being forced to cover distinguished veterans who have served their country. Indeed, this article has a nice list of several reporters who expressed their disgust and anger on Twitter for having to cover a Trump event featuring veterans. After the event, photographic evidence of angry reporters trashing the setup also emerged on Twitter:
Reporters angry with Trump after this mornings birther row, caught on film destroying and vandalizing Trump Hotel. pic.twitter.com/jc0yCtUNY5
— Eric Redding (@NoWayGray) September 16, 2016
All this because they didn’t get the blood they were after. This sort of petulance can only further erode the trust the public has in the media as a whole.
As a campaign issue, Trump took most of the long term steam out if it, although it might simmer for a few days. The media were planning to hit Trump with this as evidence of his racism and bigotry. The problem with this argument is that every single thing Trump does is evidence of his racism and bigotry, according to the media.
The public as a whole has seem nothing but TRUMP IS RACIST coming out of the mouths of the media for months on end, and thus yet another example of Trump’s ‘racism’ is hardly going to move any sort of needle in the public’s mind.
It does speak to a creeping desperation in the media and the Clinton campaign. The tide is slowly turning, as I described yesterday. Yet their only response is to keep going to the same, tired BIGOT well, which is having less and less of an effect on people. They will continue to do it, because it is the only thing they know. At this point, the Clinton campaign is basically ‘Vote for Clinton, because Trump is a racist.’
That is not a winning message.