*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Although there was a veritable circus in Washington yesterday due to the first press conference in seven months featuring big-time wrestling celebrity Donald Trump, there was very little new or revelatory information to comment on. At this juncture, all one needs to know about anything out of Trump’s mouth is that it is either a lie or playing the victim card.
It is noteworthy that the clown-show portrayed as a press conference at Trump’s hotel was a not-so-subtle distraction from Vladimir Putin’s BFF Rex Tillerson planned confirmation hearing where he faced senators’ questions in his bid to be secretary of state.
Now, the primary reason Trump’s press conference devolved quickly into a lie- and whine-fest is because Trump still needs his loyal acolytes to fawn over his every utterance, cheer his lies and attempt to intimidate the press; even at an “official” president-elect’s press conference. To make a press conference more like his campaign rallies, Trump packed the room with paid staffers to cheer their boss on and jeer at the reporters who dared to fail the “Trump adoration” test.
Trump is nothing if not predictable. One had forgotten that when Trump announced his candidacy what seems like eons ago, he packed the room with paid actors to fill the room with phony “real Americans” to wildly cheer his every remark. Apparently the Donald was aware that reporters from around the world were not visiting his hotel to cheer his lies and give him the adulation a megalomaniac requires, so he “filled the room with paid staffers who clapped and cheered as he blasted members of the media as purveyors of ‘fake news.’” The Trump still cannot comprehend that of all the people to insult or pay people to jeer, it is sheer insanity to pick on the media.
Over at Politico they rightly asserted that Trump hauling in paid staffers to cheer and jeer at the appropriate times was his pathetic attempt to dispute and dismiss the U.S. Intelligence community’s report about his perverse adventures in Russia. They are reports that Trump claims are false; something his partner-in-crime Mike Pence concurred with. As an aside, not only are Pence and Trump calling the media liars, they are attempting to demean the integrity of the intelligence community as liars and purveyors of fake news; never a good idea.
What Trump was hoping was to make the press conference was “a referendum on the media” as patently untrustworthy, lying, and putting out fake news about Trump. His paid staffers duly performed their duty and cheered Trump’s claim that the “media are out-of-touch liars;” but only when they report Trump lies or stories that fail to portray him as a god.
Even though the Trump hasn’t given a press conference in seven months, he said:
“It’s very familiar territory, news conferences. We stopped giving them because we’re getting quite a bit of inaccurate news.”
Then he assailed the news website BuzzFeed that published the full 35-page dossier of allegations against him as a “failing pile of garbage.” He also called CNN and one of its primary reporters “fake news;” it is a charge he never made while his one-time campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski, was paid by CNN to dish out daily doses of Trump propaganda.
In fact, when Trump “yelled” at CNN’s Jim Acosta accusing him of being “fake news,” his paid acolytes cheered wildly and it was all Trump needed to cement “fake news” as the “running theme” of the nearly hour-long press conference. His staffers were so programmed to perform that when Trump asked no-one in particular “Do you honestly believe that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Putin than me?” The paid staffers in the room responded to their cue by yelling out, “No!”
The paid cheerleaders also gave “their boss” a rousing cheer of approval when he “jeered sarcastically” at a reporter for asking the corrupt businessman if he “planned to release his tax returns.” Trump said, “Oh gee, I’ve never heard that before. The only ones who care about my tax returns are the reporters. I became president.” Trump is a liar, obviously. A great number of Americans care about his refusal to release his tax returns and they also know why he hasn’t released them and why the question will continue being asked by members of the press.
Trump hates any part of the media that doesn’t deify him or reports the truth, and like a moron, he continues insulting them at every opportunity; really not a smart move. There is a saying, “it’s enough to piss off the Pope” that is generally thought to mean something is seriously egregious to irritate a kind and gentle representative of Jesus Christ on Earth. That may be true in the modern era, but “in the day” when the Church ruled supreme as the preeminent world power, it was a death sentence for any monarch or world leader to “piss off the Pope” who could, and would, unleash a world of hurt for “irritating” the Pontiff.
About 8 years ago during a very heated exchange between a corrupt state politician and the editorial board this author sat on, the publisher finally stopped the proceedings and recounted the “piss off the Pope” story to remind the politician that the stupidest and most dangerous thing any politician can ever do is “piss off the press.” Donald Trump still doesn’t comprehend that simple rule and he seems intent on irritating the media, and the powerful intelligence community, that fails to perform acts of obeisance at the sound of his name.
If Wednesday’s press conference was a preview of how Trump will interface with members of the press corps in the White House briefing room, it looks like there are going to be no small number of “major clashes” with reporters and news outlets. And it is noteworthy that it will be more than just unflattering stories that will make any press meeting a disastrous affair. With no paid hacks in attendance cheering on his every statement, Trump will get exactly what he deserves; a real press fulfilling their mandate as members of the Fourth Estate. After insulting and demonizing members of the press and journalists in general, Trump will learn exactly what it means for members of the Fourth Estate to “afflict the comfortable” and they won’t care one iota that he resides in “The People’s House;” a house he has no right occupying.