Covering Trump: New York Post Shows the Way
There are a lot of crazy conspiracies out there. How ’bout this one? Donald Trump’s a double-agent. He pretends to be a Republican, but he’s actually on the payroll of the Democratic National Committee.
Now, even though that’s no crazier than Trump’s claim that he won the 2020 election, I don’t believe it for a second. But how else to explain Trump’s bizarre announcement this week that he’s running again for president? If Democrats didn’t pay him to declare so early, they should have.
For starters, media reviews of his big announcement were scathing. Politico: “For many of those in the room and watching at home, the supposed spectacle was a dud.” New York Times: “Trump Announces 2024 Run, Repeating Lies and Exaggerating Record.” Washington Post: “Trump, who as president fomented an insurrection, says he is running again.”
Trump got an equally cold shoulder from mega Republican donors. Stephen Schwarzman, Ken Griffin, and Ronald Lauder, who bankrolled his last campaign, said they’d dump Trump and back someone else this time.
Republican politicians didn’t exactly line up and salute Trump Redux, either. Sure, Trump got the expected, immediate endorsements of the GOP’s “team crazy:” Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Jim Jordan, and Kari Lake. But many top Republican officials and Trump supporters, some of whom admittedly have presidential ambitions of their own, defiantly said the party needs to move on from Trump. Their numbers include: Sen. Mitt Romney; Governors Larry Hogan, Ace Hutchinson, Kristi Noem, and Chris Sununu; former Governor Chris Christie; former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper; and former Vice-President Mike Pence. Even Trump lapdog Kevin McCarthy declined to offer his support for 2024.
Trump couldn’t even convince his daughter Ivanka. On the afternoon he launched his third bid for president, Ivanka announced she wanted nothing to do with it. “I love my father very much,” she said, “but this time around … I do not plan to be involved in politics.” Ivanka not only refused to board Trump’s campaign bus, she threw him under it.
Over all, nobody was more brutal than the New York Post. Remember, for years the Post operated like Trump’s personal publicity agency. They lionized him when he was just a colorful New York businessman. At the direction of owner Rupert Murdoch, they shamelessly promoted Trump’s campaign for president. They hailed him as the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln and, for months, regurgitated Trump’s big lie that he, not Joe Biden, won in 2020.
But the Post’s love affair with The Donald is finally over. They now see Trump for what he really is: a con man, blowhard, bully, crook, liar, know-nothing, amoral, egomaniacal, colossal embarrassment to his party, serious threat to our democracy – and, worst of all, having led the Republican Party to three disastrous losses in 2018, 2020, and 2022, a big loser.
Accordingly, having lampooned him on its front page a couple days before as “Trumpty Dumpty” (he couldn’t even build a wall to fall off of), the Post gave Trump’s big 2024 announcement the big yawn it deserved. The bottom of its front page on Nov. 16 simply noted “Florida Man Makes Announcement.”
Inside, buried on page 26, under the headline “Been there, Don that,” the Rupert Murdoch flagship flayed Trump: “With just 720 days to go before the next election, a Florida retiree made the surprise announcement that he was running for president. Avid golfer Donald J. Trump kicked things off at Mar-a-Lago, his resort and classified-documents library.” Final line of the story: “Trump also served as the 45th president.”
It was brutal, every single word of it. But here’s what’s important: the Post is showing all media outlets how they should cover Trump’s ridiculous 2024 presidential campaign: with a healthy measure of disinterest, skepticism, and ridicule. The exact opposite way, in other words, they covered Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Let’s face it, the media created Donald Trump. As a playboy developer, the New York press chronicled his every move in their gossip columns. For 14 years, NBC gave him a national platform as host of “The Apprentice.” As a presidential candidate, CNN covered Trump’s campaign rallies wall to wall.
Donald Trump would never have become president without the fawning, fanboy coverage he received from the media. They created a monster. And they must not make that same mistake again. Leading Republicans have broken from Trump. It’s time for the media to do the same.
(Bill Press is host of The BillPressPod, and author of 10 books, including: “From the Left: My Life in the Crossfire.” His email address is: email@example.com. Readers may also follow him on Twitter @billpresspod.)
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