Ben Sasse: Trump Puppet Masters News Media Into a Frenzy ‘Which Isn’t Good for Us’


Senator Ben Sasse sat with Morning Joe today in a long-ranging discussion about many topics that comprise the current news cycle but finished with insightful commentary on the very nature of today’s current news cycle itself.

Sasse’s media visibility has spiked of late, in part due to his role in the Senate confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but that the once “Never Trumper” appears to have cooled on his criticism of President Donald Trump. Oh, and he’s also doing a pretty extensive media tour in promotion of his book that has him on nearly every cable news program.

Morning Joe contributor Mike Barnicle got the last question when he asked the Senator about the news business, saying “do you buy into the proposition that Donald Trump wakes up every day and plays us to the hilt and laughs at us?”

Sasse provided something relatively rare for cable news programming: ostensibly thoughtful and dispassionate commentary that at least appears to transcend the “us vs them” construct that is the underpinning of his book Them: Why We Hate Each Other – and How to Heal. 

Sasses said of Trump’s media skill: “The president is a good marketer and understands how to drive news cycle like nobody else in U.S. History has.” Magic Eightball says? “Without a Doubt.”

He then pivoted to the loss of shared experience we as a nation have in consuming television programming by noting the disparity of top-rated television programs today compared to yesteryear. He cited Hannity as the most-watched cable news show which gets roughly three million viewers nightly or only 1% of the country. Back in the day, I Love Lucy boasted a 70% share of total viewers.

Sasses ultimately landed on a critique of President Trump, he did it in such a thoughtful and calm manner that it was almost missed. “Right now there is no 70% conversation and I think the president is pretty good at puppet mastering, getting the news media having a new frenzy. That doesn’t help us.”

Criticizing a frenzied news media on an often frenzied “news media” show? They didn’t even know he hit them,

Watch the clip above courtesy of MSNBC.

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