As a self-professed hand-wringing progressive, I say: not so quick on this one. There isn’t any doubt the media struggled mightily in 2016 with the right way to cowl Trump, however 2020 is totally different, each in what the media has realized and the distinction between protecting an incumbent and reporting on a challenger.
The errors of 2016 have been nicely lined. Donald Trump dominated the airwaves from his early morning telephone calls to “Morning Joe” on MSNBC to repeated preaching that he would Make America Nice Once more, to protection of his rallies on cable networks like CNN.
After all, there have been many troublesome, scandalous tales Trump needed to take care of, however by sheer aggression, showmanship and probably a lift from Wikileaks and the Russians, he was at all times capable of drive the marketing campaign narrative, get his message out — and win.
The media’s failures in protecting his opponent, Hillary Clinton, are simple to dissect. Essentially the most talked about and reported tales have been about her emails, which in the long run proved to be an enormous nothing burger. It could have given a touch about her penchant for secrecy, however it by no means ought to have been a defining attribute of her marketing campaign.
Much more irritating for Clinton’s marketing campaign was the shortage of protection for her issue-based bulletins. She had a plan for every little thing even earlier than Elizabeth Warren had a plan for every little thing. However these obtained little protection, brushed apart by the media in favor of specializing in her response to the newest demagogic broadside from Trump.
In 2016, fully overmatched on promoting spending by Clinton, he was capable of drive the narrative with assaults on her and along with his frequent reside appearances on each community and cable tv. He has had some success turning comparatively small situations of violence at in any other case peaceable protests into a significant wedge concern. However this time, given the information on the bottom, he actually is simply capable of seem unchallenged on Fox Information exhibits and the occasional interview with Rush Limbaugh or the far-right OANN.
Trump’s personal lack of self-discipline is contributing enormously to his downside. If he hadn’t publicly taken on the FBI director, there was an opportunity his anti-Biden message would have damaged by the mainstream media. However when any politician offers reporters a buffet of stories nuggets, they’ll at all times go for probably the most compelling, even when it isn’t an important.
Dealing with one other shortfall in marketing campaign money, Trump cannot depend upon the media to assist him drive the narrative. His personal report is defining the narrative and that is dangerous information for him.
So, to my progressive buddies, it isn’t proper to say 2020 is similar as 2016. There are nonetheless occasions he will get away with political homicide, however these incidences are vastly outweighed by a essential, and honest, in my view, deal with his report as President.
No query, there are nonetheless occasions I discover myself yelling on the TV: “That is a lie, any person say that is a lie.”
However solely Fox Information, which features as a state propaganda device, will enable him to pursue his technique of operating as a challenger though he is the President. The remainder of the media is doing a fairly good job of constructing this about what’s vital — what he does, not what he says.