There are few things that can unite all factions of the right these days. But a major media outlet whining about being “bullied” to exploit public attention towards Keaton Jones had Trumpers, Trump-skeptics, libertarians, etc, all throwing rhetorical scat at CNN in my Twitter feed this afternoon.
Thanks for bringing us together for one shining moment before we tear each other apart over Alabama tomorrow night, CNN.
It started with this Trumpier-than-usual tweet this morning:
Another false story, this time in the Failing @nytimes, that I watch 4-8 hours of television a day – Wrong! Also, I seldom, if ever, watch CNN or MSNBC, both of which I consider Fake News. I never watch Don Lemon, who I once called the “dumbest man on television!” Bad Reporting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2017
“The fact that he has an opinion about Don Lemon has always struck me as conclusive proof he watches too much tv,” notes Ramesh Ponnuru. Seriously, it’s like having an opinion on Erin Burnett. Who watches so much CNN primetime that they have a “take” on a formulaic rando host?
The president does, I guess. He has a “Super Tivo” to record cable news, you know.
But I digress. The commentariat spends much of its time nowadays navel-gazing about how the media can rebuild goodwill among Americans who’ve lost faith in it. One suggestion: For starters, for the love of Mike, stop the endless cycle of self-pity and grandiosity. When reporters aren’t busy telling you how heroic their industry is, they’re busy telling you how mean the president is to them, although he’s only mean to them because he’s threatened by their heroic crusade for truth and free speech, which in turn makes his disrespect so much more tragic and hurtful since you would expect the president of all people to stand up for the First Amendment, but at least our heroic media is standing up for it, and on and on we go!
CNN statement on Trump insulting Don Lemon: “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect on a regular basis with insults and name calling, it is sad to see our president engaging in the very same behavior himself. Leaders should lead by example.”
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) December 11, 2017
This is an international news organization implicitly comparing itself to the little kid whose video about bullying went viral because the president called one of their anchors dumb. I realize that any public venom from Trump towards a journalist is destined to make their life miserable for a bit as his more excitable fans resort to all manner of verbal abuse towards that person, but the “soldiers for truth”/”bullied child” duality is hard to maintain. Is CNN cowed by Trump or isn’t it? If yes, drop the hero shtick. If no, then he’s not a very effective bully.
This is also the network, by the way, that not long ago congratulated itself for being willing to recognize an apple as an apple when powerful Trumpian forces proclaim to the public that it’s a banana. But (a) one of the things that prompted Trump’s tweet was CNN’s *inability* to recognize an apple as an apple on Friday and (b) his problem with Don Lemon surely has less to do with Lemon’s astounding investigative powers than the fact that Lemon likes to use his CNN soapbox to lecture Trump on the air. He has every right to throw a punch at the president but we know by now that Trump hits back. Lemon’s not going to clam up in response, nor should he. Little different from Keaton Jones, no?
Here’s Jake Tapper earlier today, not appearing bullied, wondering where the Birther-in-chief gets off lecturing news agencies about facts and truth.