As I said yesterday, I believe that eventually Donald Trump will be effectively debilitated by the collective news media having both an economic and philosophical incentive to finally cut him down to size. However, I never imagined that it would be over for Trump before it even officially began.
That was before The Daily Beast dropped this bombshell that the website is vowing to “stand up” to the Trump presidency.
Wow. I have no idea how President-elect Trump can possibly ever survive the onslaught to his power that being opposed by a liberal website whose traffic is ranked 251st in the country will surely bring. He might as well resign right now. He should probably even tell his electors in the states he was super lucky to win to just vote for Hillary Clinton instead. It would save everyone a whole lot of time and aggravation.
To be serious, I fully realize that most of what The Daily Beast is doing is creating some tasty clickbait for liberals who feel scared, confused and powerless, and who are desperately looking to lash out in some tangible, if ultimately pointless and feckless fashion. But part of me thinks that The Daily Beast itself is not fully in on this joke.
Now, to be clear, as an ardent Trump critic, I actually agree with some of the concepts in the piece to which I am referring. However, I am most struck by their apparent utter delusion regarding how the modern political/media world now works (or, more, often, doesn’t).
Is The Daily Beast not aware that back when Donald Trump was still an incredibly vulnerable longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination that the far more (supposedly) influential Huffington Post initially refused to even cover Trump in their news section? That they finally relented but accompanied all stories about him with a “disclaimer” that he is a racist and misogynist?
How did that work out? If anything, it actually helped Trump win the GOP nomination because we conservatives have been taught that whomever pisses off the liberal elites the most is probably the person we should support with the greatest fervor.
Did The Daily Beast also fail to notice that the vaunted and revered New York Times devoted an extraordinary effort to exposing Trump’s taxes, and yet, despite him basically admitting that he hardly pays any income tax, they didn’t even come even close to keeping Trump from being the first presidential candidate in over a generation to not release his taxes (even after having promised he would do so)?
Does The Daily Beast realize that the Washington Post, the newspaper which brought down Richard Nixon, devoted astonishing assets to uncovering Trump’s charitable foundation, uncovering enough solid information to bring down multiple presidential campaigns, and yet their revelations never even became a serious campaign issue?
The reality is that one of the many lessons of this campaign is that the news media has lost almost all of its power to impact major national events individually. They only have potency when they all work in unison over an extended period of time for a narrative to break through the clutter and take hold on a majority of the public (just ask Sarah Palin). As I have often said, in this dangerously fragmented media era, it is not what gets reported which has real impact, it is what is REPEATED which carries the day (this is why the endless Clinton email problem probably had far more influence on voters than any of the dozens of “hit and run” Trump scandals).
The number of people who will actually change their mind about the Trump presidency because of anything which is reported by The Daily Beast is far fewer than miniscule margin by which Trump apparently won Michigan. Whatever they, or any other liberal news outlet, do on their own is almost completely irrelevant in this new media era, especially to a personality as Teflon as Trump.
President Trump will only be harmed by two developments in the news media. The first is if Fox News, the Drudge Report, or Breitbart.com turned on him hard. This, of course, will never happen (unless he goes FULL liberal, in which case he might get saved by the “mainstream” media) because they are all literally invested in his election and presidency.
The second, far more likely, outcome is if the “mainstream” media is able to, in unison, use several events (or one huge one) to create a negative narrative about Trump which hits at the heart of his appeal and/or drives a wedge in the very fragile relationship between him and his congressional support. This is highly likely to happen, but it will take a long and concerted effort before it finally has a significant bearing on Trump’s ability to govern as he would like and eventually his chances of reelection.
Ironically, it is this very type of delusion and arrogance regarding their own power to influence events which has created so much public distrust in the news media, thus stripping them of their power to easily keep President Donald Trump from becoming a reality in the first place.
John Ziegler, who has worked as a pollster, is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.