- The Washington Times
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Voters already know that President Trump has confronted a hostile news media, which has produced an unprecedented amount of negative coverage aimed at his campaign, presidency and administration for three years. The practice ultimately may backfire on the press; Americans dislike the media almost as much as the media dislikes Mr. Trump. Almost.

Meanwhile, the president continues to maintain an adequate arsenal of ways to counter his journalistic foe. Mr. Trump has a fearless staff. He has a productive relationship with a handful of very powerful news organizations which support him. He bypasses the mainstream media with tactical tweets and social media outreach, issued at all hours.


Most importantly, perhaps, Mr. Trump is an irresistible newsmaker and a hands-on master at creating a nimble counternarrative; he both infuriates and fascinates those journalists who attack him, squawk at one another — then race to craft a story. This has been going on since that pivotal moment when Mr. Trump announced his intention to run for president on June 16, 2015.

“Politicians are all talk and no action. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promised land,” he told the crowd.

But wait, there’s more. Mr. Trump also continues to issue his own substantial public opinion polls, as he has done since his campaign.

The latest version is a collection of 27 questions, described by Mr. Trump in the public outreach as a “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey to show the media that the American people are fed up with the Fake News Machine.”

He is succinct. Among the questions: “Do you believe the media disdains conservatives?”; “Do you believe the media fails to report on Democrats’ scandals?”; Do you believe that the media purposely tries to divide Republicans in order to help elect Democrats?”; “Do you believe that the Republican Party should spend more time and resources holding the mainstream media accountable?”

A HILLARY SIGHTING

Speaking of media, there will be inevitable heavy media interest in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearance at “Ozy Fest” on Saturday. Staged at a field in New York City’s Central Park, the two-day event is simply billed as “Think. Eat. Rock” by organizers and features a collection of high-profile performers, authors, comedians designers, celebrity chefs and yes, political entities.

They include Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez; Rep. Mark Sanford, South Carolina Republican; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat; and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove — whose talk is titled “Could Trump be the next Reagan?”

Mrs. Clinton goes on stage in late afternoon.

“Important conversations and news making moments happen,” predicts Carlos Watson, co-founder of the event, which ends Sunday.

‘TRUMP WILL ULTIMATELY REBOUND’

Analysis and hubbub continues over President Trump’s meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin on Monday. It got some stark reviews: 8-out-of-10 Republican voters lauded the event, 91 percent of Democrats condemned it, according to a new Axios poll.

Ford O’Connell, an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and a former presidential campaign adviser, called the encounter both “missed opportunity” and an “ill-fated press conference.” But not to worry.

Trump will ultimately rebound from this misstep for two reasons. First, when he makes a political miscalculation, you can usually count on his opponents becoming so unhinged and blinded by their hatred for the president that the White House is able to flip the script so that the bullseye is no longer on Trump’s back — but affixed squarely on his detractors,” Mr. O’Connell tells Inside the Beltway.

“This time is no different. Within 96 hours of the Trump-Putin meeting, John Brennan, a former CIA director under Obama, labeled the president’s actions as ‘nothing short of treasonous,’ Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee seemed to promote a military coup to remove Trump from office, and a former Watergate prosecutor and Carter aide compared the president’s comments to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht. You can’t make this stuff up and the folks uttering these words are not exactly your run-of-the-mill loons,” he continues.

“Second, luckily for Trump there is a difference between words versus actions. Action-wise, Trump has been tougher on Russia than former Presidents Barack Obama or even George W. Bush. From the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats following the poisoning in Britain, to the countless sanctions levied on Russia, to the sale of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, to increased U.S. oil production, to calls for more NATO defense spending — Trump has been extremely tough on Russia. To say otherwise just isn’t true,” Mr. O’Connell observes.

“The challenge for Trump is to drive home the second point, because polling indicates that the American public is largely unaware of the actions he has taken towards Russia in an effort to thwart Putin’s many transgressions. If Trump and his allies are successful on this front, the Trump-Putin summit will be a faint memory by the all-important 2018 midterm elections,” he continues. “Beyond the immediate media hyperventilation and political hysteria, it is important for Trump to right-the-ship long-term. President Trump was elected to do deals for the American people, both domestically and on the international stage, and if that ‘wheeler and dealer’ perception is tarnished, it could doom his 2020 re-election bid.”

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POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of Americans say they follow ongoing investigations of “Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election”; 69 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall say “Russia interfered in the 2016 election”; 46 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 85 percent of Democrats agree.

47 percent overall say “FBI investigations and actions around the 2016 election are politically motivated against President Trump“: 75 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

34 percent overall say the investigation is not politically motivated against Mr. Trump: 12 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Ipsos poll of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted July 16-17.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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