Aggression, hostility, bias: The news media’s unapologetic war on President Trump has been going full force since he was inaugurated. Manipulative headlines and unfair coverage require strategic countermeasures — and the heart of a lion perhaps.
“Short of curing cancer or forging peace in the Middle East, President Trump is always going to be a target of ire for a majority of the media. Trump was not their candidate, and he is never going to be their candidate — they just simply don’t like him. That said, President Trump cannot let the media pierce his image as a dealmaker who puts America first amid a narrative of incompetence and dysfunction,” Ford O’Connell, an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and a political analyst, tells Inside the Beltway.
There are tactics to neutralize negative press and avoid the damaging side effects of an entrenched political establishment, he says.
“President Trump will need a big legislative victory on tax reform, infrastructure or border enforcement and immigration. He can achieve that by putting more balls in play on Capitol Hill and playing small ball in the interim: the Supreme Court confirmation, avoiding a government shutdown, raising the debt ceiling. What Trump is fighting against more than the media is a Washington that is perfectly happy with the status quo. A legislative victory won’t be easy, but should it occur, Trump will likely get a second bite at the apple on health care reform,” Mr. O’Connell continues.
“When you are up to your eyeballs in alligators, it is hard to remember your original mission: to drain the swamp. As long as President Trump makes clear that every measure he signs, whether it is an executive order or a bill before Congress, is presented to the electorate as something that will increase jobs or improve people’s livelihood, his core supporters will never abandon Trump. There were a lot of reasons Trump was elected president, but chief among them was a belief he would improve the economy and make life better for average Americans,” he concludes.
AND THE REALITY CHECK
“If the people of our great country could only see how viciously and inaccurately my administration is covered by certain media!”
— President Trump, in a tweet Wednesday. See American views on “fake news” in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
REPUBLICANS EXPLAIN DEMOCRATS
The discerning Republican National Committee has noted that the Democratic National Committee appears to have three repeat talking points at the moment. And here they are: “Everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you.”
Those mantras in mind, DNC Chairman Tom Perez and co-Chair Rep. Keith Ellison have been making public appearances, notably on a much ballyhooed “Turnaround Tour” of key battleground states.
“In a tremendous display of hubris, Perez and Ellison believe that simply appearing together will resolve all the differences,” the RNC notes. “The verisimilitude portrayed by Keith Ellison and Tom Perez that everything is hunky-dory at the DNC is belied by the contentious relationship between the establishment and liberal factions of the Democrat Party.”
Verisimilitude. The GOP gets a round of applause for using this hefty term, defined by our friends at Merriam-Webster as “having the appearance of truth.” The dictionary notes that fiction writers and filmmakers “aim at some kind of verisimilitude to give their stories an air of reality. They need not show something actually true, or even very common, but simply something believable.”
Yes, well. In a recent era, that was called “truthiness” by the likes of comic pundit Stephen Colbert, but no matter. Verisimilitude is in the Democrats’ toolbox. The GOPers are not quite done, though.
“Perez and Ellison alone can do little to address the underlying divisions within their party,” they advise.
FOR THE LEXICON
Get out of the way now. Make way for womyn, womxn, womban or wimmin. All four are the new alternative spellings for “woman” — introduced at a recent forum at the Missouri State University Multicultural Resource Center and intended for those who don’t like “man” as the root of “woman.” Each term has its own political connotations, as well.
“We introduce our gender pronouns as a way to normalize gender identity,” Yvania Garcia-Pusateri, executive director of campus multicultural programs, told attendees.
THEY HAVE A STEAK IN IT
Let’s spend a moment with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which is pleased that the Congressional Beef Caucus has been re-established after a few years’ absence. The caucus is charged with informing Capitol Hill about policy issues that impact America’s cattle and beef producers, who fret over the fact that China essentially has banned imports of American beef since 2003. That happens to be a $2.6 billion import market. The beef folks hope President Trump can remedy the situation when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.
Meanwhile, the 35-member bipartisan Congressional Beef Caucus will be co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, Texas Democrat, and Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican.
“There are many issues that affect our ability to help provide the world’s safest and most abundant food supply,” notes Craig Uden, president of the trade group and a fourth-generation cattleman hailing from Elwood, Nebraska.
POLL DU JOUR
• 39 percent of Americans say “traditional major news sources” report fake news “on purpose in order to push an agenda”; 55 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.
• 36 percent say news sources occasionally report fake news; 42 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.
• 32 percent say news sources do not report fake news; 15 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.
• 27 percent say news sources regularly report fake news; 37 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 11 percent of Democrats agree.
• 17 percent say news sources report fake news “by accident or by poor fact-checking”; 17 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Monmouth University poll of 801 U.S. adults conducted March 2-5 and released Wednesday.
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