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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

 
He put the press in its place

by digby















This New Yorker piece by David Remnick about the Monday meeting with the press is just ... oh dear God:

First came the obsessive Twitter rants directed at “Hamilton” and “Saturday Night Live.” Then came Monday’s astonishing aria of invective and resentment aimed at the media, delivered in a conference room on the twenty-fifth floor of Trump Tower. In the presence of television executives and anchors, Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use “nicer” pictures?

For more than twenty minutes, Trump railed about “outrageous” and “dishonest” coverage. When he was asked about the sort of “fake news” that now clogs social media, Trump replied that it was the networks that were guilty of spreading fake news. The “worst,” he said, were CNN (“liars!”) and NBC.

This is where we are. The President-elect does not care who knows how unforgiving or vain or distracted he is. This is who he is, and this is who will be running the executive branch of the United States government for four years.

The over-all impression of the meeting from the attendees I spoke with was that Trump showed no signs of having been sobered or changed by his elevation to the country’s highest office. Rather, said one, “He is the same kind of blustering, bluffing blowhard as he was during the campaign.”

Another participant at the meeting said that Trump’s behavior was “totally inappropriate” and “fucking outrageous.” The television people thought that they were being summoned to ask questions; Trump has not held a press conference since late July. Instead, they were subjected to a stream of insults and complaints—and not everyone absorbed it with pleasure.

“I have to tell you, I am emotionally fucking pissed,” another participant said. “How can this not influence coverage? I am being totally honest with you. Toward the end of the campaign, it got to a point where I thought that the coverage was all about [Trump’s] flaws and problems. And that’s legit. But, I thought, O.K., let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After the meeting today, though—and I am being human with you here—I think, Fuck him! I know I am being emotional about it. And I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented. Outrageous!”

Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign and who is now his senior adviser, said that the meeting had been “very cordial, candid, and honest.”

Participants said that Trump did not seem entirely rational about his criticism of the media, nor did he appear any more informed about policy than he had been during the campaign. When one participant pointed out that all Presidents and Presidential candidates believe they get bad press, Trump said, “Not Obama!”

In fact, Trump went on at length about how much he has come to like the current President—how “great” they are getting along and how he “loves” Obama. He said that since the two met at the White House, two weeks ago, they have spoken twice on the phone. When I interviewed Obama for nearly two hours last week, he was obviously doing his best to avoid insulting or provoking a man whom he had previously declared “unfit” and “uniquely unqualified” for the Presidency. During the President’s trip to Europe and Peru, sources said, one foreign leader after another came to Obama in a mood of shock and alarm, including Angela Merkel, of Germany.

The one topic that seemed to elicit real seriousness from Trump, now that he has been briefed by intelligence officials, attendees said, is the situation in North Korea.

Sitting at a large conference table and flanked by his top aides, including Stephen Bannon, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, and Conway, Trump also told the attendees that Mitt Romney, who had been an unvarnished critic during the campaign, now “desperately wants” to be Secretary of State under Trump. The two men met at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, over the weekend. It was unclear if Trump was going to give the job to Romney or was, instead, toying with his onetime adversary. People at the session, however, came away believing that Trump was preparing to nominate General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense.

The participants all shook Trump’s hand at the start of the session and congratulated him, but things went south from there. The attendees included around two dozen anchors and executives from CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and ABC, including Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Wolf Blitzer, Gayle King, David Muir, and Martha Raddatz. The Trump people did say that they would allow the new President to be followed, as tradition has had it, by a team of pool reporters.

Participants said that Trump did not raise his voice, but that he went on steadily at the start of the meeting about how he had been treated poorly. “It was all so Trump,” one said. “He is like this all the time. He’ll freeze you out and then be nice and humble and sort of want you to like him.”

“But he truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment,” the source continued. “He doesn’t. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”

I wish I believed that the press would be so appalled that they would redouble their efforts to expose this fascist freak. But I don't. I think they will adjust their coverage in order to maintain access and create a sense of normality.

I hope I'm wrong.

.