Hostile news organizations and pundits are fond of describing President Trump in extreme terms, often calling him unpresidential, unorthodox and aggressive — and from the moment he took office. Critics are not comfortable with his candid Twitter missives; they are insulted when he does not dutifully telegraph his plans to one and all. But this is a complicated world. It is possible that Mr. Trump’s style is calculated, canny, productive — and the work of a businessman, politician and showman who embraces asymmetrical warfare on a global stage.
“Is Donald Trump’s unpredictability an advantage in handling North Korea? The North Koreans are used to being the ones who play the crazy card,” writes Issac Chotiner, a Slate staff writer who is interested, he says, in “the reasons for China’s large influence over North Korea, whether the current North Korean regime is rational, and why Trump’s bluster — ‘the crazy card’ — might be beneficial.”
So how does North Korea react to Mr. Trump?
“I think they perceive him as very unpredictable, which is perhaps not a bad thing. By being impetuous and tweeting all sorts of implied threats, he’s scaring them and also scaring the Chinese. As I said, that’s their card. That’s the favorite card in the playbook. The fact that he’s stolen it or is playing their game is, I think, putting them kind of off. They don’t know how to interpret it,” Barbara Demick told the publication.
She is New York bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, and also the author of the 2010 book “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.”
Ms. Demick later reiterated, “I think Trump has scared the North Koreans, and I think he’s even more so scared the Chinese. The Chinese are quite risk-averse. The Chinese Communist Party really wants stability on that border, and if they’re convinced that Trump could do something serious, I think they will be more cooperative. He’s tried various techniques with the Chinese, and he’s offered concessions on trade. I think he’s making it clear that he’s very serious about this. Oh my God, here I am, defending Donald Trump.”
TWITTER PHENOMENON OF THE DAY
— Twitter hashtag immediately launched by fans of Bill O’Reilly following his formal dismissal Wednesday as a longtime Fox News Channel host
CANNABIS GOES TO CONGRESS
A cultural moment that truly would have amazed the old hippies of yore. DCMJ, an interest group promoting “equal rights” for marijuana growers and users in the nation’s capital, is planning its own “joint session” at the U.S. Capitol at high noon on Thursday. It is described by organizers as “a free cannabis giveaway for Capitol Hill staff and media” to call on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Congress to “reauthorize the RohrabacherFarr amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to step in or interfere with D.C. and state medical cannabis laws.”
The group plans to “lawfully” distribute 1,000 marijuana joints to members of Congress, congressional staffers, credentialed journalists, support staff, interns and 21-or-older Capitol Hill workers with congressional identification.
“Two free joints per valid congressional ID,” advise Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller, co-founders of the host organization, who also advise this will all take place on “non-federal land” near the Capitol.
WARREN UPS THE ANTE
Republican Party observers say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just embarked on a tour to promote her new book, “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle for America’s Middle Class.” But she is receiving tepid reviews for her work, intended as a way to burnish her political brand and prepare for 2018 midterm elections and a possible 2020 presidential run. The GOP observers cite a few succinct examples of those reviews. Among them: The Atlantic said the author practices “faux folksiness” in the book, and sidesteps her own role in Democratic Party mistakes that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss of the White House. The Boston Globe noted “all the material she left out,” adding, “the Massachusetts senator trains her scrappy prose on corporations and Republicans while notably pulling her punches on the Democratic Party’s stunning failures of 2016.”
UNPRECEDENTED TRUMP BASHING
Biased, negative news coverage of President Trump could not get much worse.
“As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89 percent negative,” write Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella, both analysts for Newsbusters.org, a conservative press watchdog.
In a new study, the pair pored over evening news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC from Jan. 20 through April 9 — over 1,000 stories focused on Mr. Trump and his new administration. That amounted to 1,900 minutes of total airtime. Only 186 minutes were positive in content or tone.
“The networks largely ignored important national priorities such as jobs and the fight against ISIS, in favor of a news agenda that has been dominated by anti-Trump controversies and which closely matches what would be expected from an opposition party,” the researchers said. The study found that Mr. Trump’s push to invigorate the economy and bring back American jobs received a mere 18 minutes of coverage, and his efforts to facilitate international trade deals resulted in less than 10 minutes of airtime.
“Eight years ago, in contrast, the broadcast networks rewarded new President Obama with mainly positive spin, and spent hundreds of stories discussing the economic agenda of the incoming liberal administration,” the analysts said, noting that in Mr. Obama’s first 100 days in office, coverage ranged from 58 percent to 82 percent positive.
POLL DU JOUR
• 48 percent of Americans say the Republican Party is best able to handle the threat of terrorism; 36 percent cite the Democratic Party.
• 46 percent say Republicans are best able to handle gun policy; 41 percent cite Democrats.
• 46 percent say Republicans best handle the economy; 43 percent cite Democrats.
• 44 percent say Republicans best handle taxes; 43 percent cite Democrats.
• 28 percent say Republicans best handle the environment; 59 percent cite Democrats.
Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,501 U.S. adults conducted April 5-11.
• Nervous chatter, calm suggestions to [email protected]
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