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Samizdata quote of the day

Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait.

They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control — but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control. As Richard Fernandez writes on Facebook, they think he’s dumb because they think he has lousy taste, but there are a lot of scarily competent guys out there in the world who like white and gold furniture. And, I should note, Trump has more media experience than probably 99% of the people covering him. (As Obama operative Ben Rhodes gloated with regard to selling a dishonest story on the Iran deal, the average reporter the Obama White House dealt with “is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns.” In Rhodes’ words, “they literally know nothing.”)

Glenn Reynolds

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29 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • PapayaSF

    Very true. It’s looking more and more like Trump is playing 4D chess and his opponents are thinking it’s checkers.

    He’s also started out with what can be called shock and awe: do so many things so fast that the opposition cannot keep focused on one. This also makes him look like he is “doing something,” which many voters like, hence his rising approval ratings, which compounds the agony of the opposition.

    This has been the most fascinating election ever. For pure entertainment value alone, thank heavens we dodged the Hillary bullet, or we’d be dying a slow death from more-of-the-same statism and boredom.

  • CaptDMO

    What ever happened to the Brit show “The Sandbaggers”?
    I have trouble settling on the usage of the term with my American brethren.
    THEY all define it (loosely) as malingerers, with a slight nod to productivity saboteurs

  • raymond mccarthy

    Spot on , great iinsite, the MSM are completely lost , they acted as the gate keeper on info for so long that they became part of the left , now they have no idea what to do , trust is gone , never tocomeback.

    He is playing then , like a cat with sting .

  • Eric

    Very true. It’s looking more and more like Trump is playing 4D chess and his opponents are thinking it’s checkers.

    He’s benefiting from the fact that many of the major US media companies damaged themselves quite badly during the campaign. They were openly debating whether or not the supposedly non-editorial coverage should be overtly pro-Clinton or just covertly. With the internet, the only enduring asset you have as a media organization is credibility, and they’ve sold theirs rather cheaply.

  • Phil B

    it is becoming easier and easier to demonstrate that the media is lying about Trump (and by extension, if they are lying about that subject, what else are they lying about?).

    As a “for example”, Trumps inauguration speech was poorly attended, clearly demonstrating that he is less popular than Obama. However, as the internet can’t be controlled by the media, these two articles give a different insight from two viewpoints that perhaps says “it ain’t necessarily so”:

    Before the Speech

    And

    After the speech

    Both paint a slightly different story.

    Trust is a fragile thing. Once broken it is never fully restored.

  • Lee Moore

    Media : “Screw you !”
    Trump : “Right back atcha.”
    Media : “How dare you say that ? You better make nice or we’ll be rude to you.”
    Trump : “Ruder than “screw you !” you mean ? Screw you !”

    I’ve noticed the inoculating effect even on myself. He’s regularly said things that make me think “That’s ridiculous, how can he spout such nonsense ?” Then the media’s response is even more ridiculous. So next time, you just tune it all out until all you notice is a series of media heads exploding and Trump with a big smile. It’s not an accident.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    I sometimes play a fun game called ‘Who were you?’ Who might Trump have been in a previous life? Someone else described his approach as a bit like Henry VIII. Multiple wives, trouble with Catholics/Mexicans, imperious court, etc… Anyone else?

  • Stephen K

    He is trolling them, and it is glorious.

  • Mr Black

    It baffles me that people could allow themselves to believe that a billionaire property developer and businessman who had been in the media spotlight for decades was in fact just some idiot who wanted an ego trip. Trump is clearly, CLEARLY highly intelligent, thoughtful and a tactical genius when it comes to politics and media relations. Every ‘mistake’ turned out to increase his support and damage his opponents.

  • Laird

    The funny thing is, although Reynolds has very clearly described, in a widely-read national newspaper, why the media is utterly failing in its efforts to discredit and weaken Trump and what they should do to have more success, they still won’t change their methods. Their arrogance and stupidity are palpable.

  • Rob Fisher

    I hope GR is right. In this office, the media are not discredited and everyone is bleating about how stupid and horrible Trump is and wondering just what terrible thing he will do or say next. Of course, British computer programmers are not a key voting bloc for trump.

    All that said… 20% tariff on imports from Mexico?

  • Jacob

    There is a story Mark Twain tells in Life on the Mississippi where he visits, after 40 years, his old hometown. He meets an old-timer and they reminiscence about people from town they both knew in their youth. Mark Twain asks: “what became of that idiot, Harry Walker?” The old-timer replies: “You would not believe… he became a lawyer, and went to St Louis, and people there never knew him as a child, and are such fools that they never noticed what an idiot he was, and he became the most famous and richest lawyer in St Louis”.

  • staghounds

    Don’t fall into the same trap of dismissing your opponents as stupid. Mass media have decades of success at guiding or even creating public opinion. President Trump is one of their very rare failures, and only a bare failure at that. They know what they are doing, they are masters at it.

    Starting with understanding that Trump and his supporters didn’t win, they only gained an opportunity. In politics you don’t win until you actually accomplish your real world goals. The enemies of Trump, like the enemies of Brexit, are staying mad while the “victors” bask in the glow. There is NEVER victory in domestic politics, only gain or loss.

    When the illegals leave, when the factories come back, when the cities get safer- THEN Trump will be winning.

  • Fred Z

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/156399716951/outrage-dilution

    Anyone who thinks Trump and his general staff have not been making battle plans since election day is an idiot.

  • staghounds

    I think if the car I drove was #2 in a formula one race by two inches, I wouldn’t be so quick to abandon my methods. I might just practice a little harder and get a tuneup.

  • Cal Ford

    The reason why the press won’t do what Reynolds says is because of another fact about the most of the modern press, which Reynolds also likes to highlight — they’re basically Democrat operatives rather than journalists. Their first loyalty is to the Democrat party, and the left. They don’t really have any interest in objective journalism in itself.

  • staghounds

    That’s exactly right. They have an agenda. News isn’t their product, votes are.

    Trump and staff absolutely have been making plans, and executing them- sheesh, it’s just six days in. What worries me is this “we won so we are smarter”, “bottom rail on top now” outlook.

    The other sides are fully as clever and hard working as we are, maybe more. This is the time to exploit and pursue, not rest. Trump seems to know that but I wonder about his supporters. It’s not just wearing a cap and voting- it’s lobbying congress, staying visible. We might laugh at them, but if all a congressman sees is voters crying and protesting Trump…

  • Watchman

    staghounds,

    I think you’re forgetting the law of diminishing returns. It may not be coincidence that the media-favoured narratives have lost in most major recent elections; it might be that each time those in the media who push this particular consensus do so it has a little less effect, either because previous dire warnings have failed or because people just are getting bored with it. So the media-cheerleaders (of all stripes to be fair) need to up their game, and the current crop of reporters and editors don’t seem to be able to do this.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Don’t overlook the existence of a form of mental illness which can affect numbers of people, “shared psychosis”. It appears to me that many Progressives have retreated into an unreal world rather than deal with their rejection by the voters; and while their leaders may be deliberately encouraging them to do so, the tendency of the collective to stand on the street waving its arms and excitedly talking to itself is likely to put off many more passers-by than the resulting solidarity will gain.

  • Laird

    Staghounds, I agree with most of your comments here, with one major exception: “They know what they are doing, they are masters at it.” First of all, I don’t think they ever really knew what they were doing; they just sort of fell into a successful formula when the mainstream media was essentially the only source of news and politicians were terrified of it. But even if they once did know what they were doing, they most certainly don’t today. The world has undergone a radical, indeed fundamental, change, and they haven’t yet assimilated this central fact. They’re playing by last year’s rules, generals fighting the last war. Reynolds is showing them this, but they’re not listening because they are incapable of it. Individually, these may not be (probably aren’t) stupid people in a clinical sense. But they’re trapped in a time warp and can’t get out of it. Collectively, they are stupid, as is any mob.

  • bobby b

    The press is on a long down-cycle in terms of credibility and honor, and Trump is eating their lunch.

    This is so only because nothing they’ve thrown at him has stuck. They’ve either been proven wrong, or proven irrelevant. He didn’t ask a prostitute to pee on a bed, and no one cared that he said the word “pussy” in a non-loving tone.

    But the press know that, if they can get something to stick – if they can actually prove he did something so unacceptable that much of Trump’s vociferous defense goes quiet – they can be right back up on top.

    Once Trump loses this winning-against-the-press momentum he’s built up, and his supporters lose the high that comes from “they can’t touch our guy!”, I think the story changes. I think Trump is at incredible risk that he flames out in ignominy over some one upcoming revelation.

    He has to guard against all shots to win – every single one – and the press is keeping those shots coming every day, as often as they can.

    They only have to hit him once.

  • They only have to hit him once.

    No, I think the danger is that even if Trump really does do something truly awful, for reals this time, hardly anyone will believe it because of the endless litany of lies that now powers most of the Press.

  • the other rob

    No, I think the danger is that even if Trump really does do something truly awful, for reals this time, hardly anyone will believe it because of the endless litany of lies that now powers most of the Press.

    This. When the “peegate” nonsense broke, I said to SWMBO “They’ve shot their bolt. He can do anything now and even if they shout it from the rooftops, nobody will believe them.”

  • Individually, these may not be (probably aren’t) stupid people in a clinical sense. But they’re trapped in a time warp and can’t get out of it.

    Yeah, they’re stuck in the 60s. (Well, really the decade between the assassination of President Kennedy and the resignation of President Nixon.) Unfortunately, the Boomers are intent on keeping us stuck in arrested infantile cultural development. Scrapping the use of the expletive-deleted -gate suffix, for example, can’t come fast enough.

  • Scrapping the use of the expletive-deleted -gate suffix, for example, can’t come fast enough.

    Oh I dunno about that. It would be hard to overstate the cultural significance of GamerGate, because it marked point at which the Left unexpectedly and quite suddenly lost control of social media. It may not seem important to most of us Old Farts but it has radicalised a great many under thirties in ways that cause the Tranzi Left to wake up screaming in horrified disbelief.

  • bobby b

    All true about Gamergate, sure, but dear god, Peegate is just a bridge too far.

  • but dear god, Peegate is just a bridge too far.

    LOL. yeah, I hear you 😆

  • …the tendency of the collective to stand on the street waving its arms and excitedly talking to itself is likely to put off many more passers-by than the resulting solidarity will gain.

    In Portland (Oregon) last week, a group of the usual black-clad malcontents decided to block downtown traffic for the usual fatuous reasons which needn’t concern us here.

    When the cops moved in, took protesters down and arrested them, the ordinary people on the street cheered the cops (in Hippie Central Portland, FFS!), with hoots and thumbs-up gestures.

    If people in Portland are getting sick of this Leftist hysteria…