President Trump speaks straight to Americans through his tweets, which keeps them informed and provides unique insight into the thinking of the most powerful man on Earth.
But that means mainstream media has been bypassed as gatekeeper, and the reporters who cover Washington have not accepted it.
Salon took out its bitterness recently with a story headlined, “30 Tweets From President Trump That We’ll Never Get Over.”
To be fair, Salon is a liberal opinion site that does not pretend to adhere to journalistic principles. And it does note in the headline that these are tweets “we’ll,” as in the writers, will never get over.
But the list is as pedantic as it is pedestrian, and the way Salon twists the tweets demonstrates the abandonment of any attempt at truly explaining the Trump presidency to the American public.
It started with the tweet in which, right after he fired James Comey as FBI director, Trump warned him not to make up stories. “
“James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Salon tells us this “raised plenty of eyebrows and invited the accusation that the president was openly attempting to intimidate a witness (Which, y’know, he was.).”
No, he warned Comey against lying about him and his family, and the warning now looks prescient.
It then takes on the famous Trump Sunday morning tweet in which he alleged, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Salon then states, as all mainstream outlets do to this day, that the claim was “baseless.” But in fact it now seems Trump was right that Obama was taping him before, after and during the election process, that the taping rivals or even exceeds Watergate in perfidy and, given the salacious accusations in the falsified GPS-Fusion dossier that formed the basis of FISA warrants used to monitor Trump and his associates, the (or sick) part takes on added meaning.
The site gets in its own way with another Trump tweet. “Wow, CNN had to retract big story on ‘Russia,’ with 3 employees forced to resign,” the president tweeted. “What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!”
According to Salon, “President Trump doesn’t seem to understand that this is actually a point in favor of the press he so despises. When reporters at reputable news organizations get stuff wrong – they go [emphasis theirs]. Meanwhile, at Fox News, you can push a debunked conspiracy theory about a murdered DNC staffer and face absolutely no consequences.”
CNN got tons of facts wrong, retracted or refused to retract dozens of stories found to be false and fired the people involved with this story only because the network realized it was in the crosshairs of a lawsuit it could not win.
The snark pours through in Salon’s response to another Trump tweet. The president wrote, “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!”
Salon responded: “Who among us wouldn’t accept an invitation to attend a meeting with a Russian government attorney offering dirt on a rival? And who among us would be surprised to learn it was part of Russia and its government’s support for our fathers?”
The campaign Salon supported, that of Democrat Hillary Clinton, certainly accepted what became the basis of the case Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now pursuing not from a loosely affiliated attorney/PR stunt-person but from the government of Ukraine itself.
In short, it’s easy to be snarky, and a lot of people reflexively find themselves accusing Donald Trump of lying when he has information others don’t. The mainstream media was nearly unanimous in writing off his accusations he was being wiretapped, but they have been proven to be almost certainly true.
CNN has not been firing people for inaccurate stories … he was right that it was a one-off. And almost any politician would have gone to a meeting at which damaging information on an opponent in a tight election had been offered.