As I watched President-elect Donald Trump lay the proverbial smackdown on some deserving media flacks Wednesday morning it suddenly occurred to me: this dude isn’t even president yet. I’m watching Trump throat-punching BuzzFeed over a hoax for which they not only fell for, but served as “Patient Zero” by spreading it faster than herpes gets around Bonnaroo, and we’re still a week away from inauguration. If they’re starting with fake stories about unsanitary Moscow orgies, what is 2019 going to be like?
The specifics of the tale are as unnecessary as they are lurid. Suffice to say, they convinced Buzzfeed to join Gawker in the web’s remaindered bin. They also dragged the so-called “mainstream media” (MSM) into the biggest faceplant since Dan Rather’s National Guard misadventures. And judging by the finger-pointing by the MSM and the shameless stupidity of BuzzFeed — they’re selling t-shirts to commemorate the disgrace — this week was the preview performance of an off-off-off-Broadway show booked for at least a four year engagement.
As the hoax fell apart, Trump pounced like a coyote on a slow-witted calf. He held a press conference; ostensibly to address the “dossier” but really to make the gathered press corps eat a big old poop taco. When CNN’s Jim Acosta demanded a chance to ask Trump a question, Trump shot back: “No, not you… your news organization is terrible. You are fake news.” And he called the original perps at BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage.” In Trump’s defense, none of his characterizations were too far off the mark. Anyone who’s peeked at BuzzFeed knows they should stick to “listicles” about cats and quizzes about “What Kind of Bread are You Based on Your Zodiac Sign?” (Really.)
While the snowflakes have managed to hang on to the dying story for dear life, the MSM have managed to frame themselves as victims of Trump’s rage; albeit by making less-than-subtle references to the allegations at every opportunity. CNN’s Jake Tapper did some uncharacteristic pearl-clutching on Wednesday afternoon.
“(W)hat I suspect we are seeing here is an attempt to discredit legitimate, responsible attempts to report on this incoming administration with irresponsible journalism that hurts us all and the media going forward should keep that in mind…”
Right. You played into a hoax contending the president-elect is almost as big a freak as that gin-blossomy dude that hangs around with Hillary Clinton, and he stomped you. You’re the real victims here.
If the media are the real victims, then they have only themselves to blame. They’re as responsible for anyone other than Trump himself for his rise from real estate mogul to reality TV show host to president of the United States. They didn’t just pick a fight with the guy, they picked a fight with the guy in the ring they helped build for him. Trump loves to play bloody knuckles, and the media are slower on the uptake than the average BuzzFeed intern. Combine that with the media’s unholy union with the Democrat Party, and if this opening round is any indication, he’s going to dominate them all like Amanda Nunes dominated Ronda Rousey. Actually, Brock Lesnar vs. Ronda Rousey might be more apt.
Some might consider the Trump-MSM battle we saw warming up on Wednesday to be bad news. After all, if these guys spend the next four years on these weird tableaus, then Trump won’t be governing, and the media won’t be reporting. I still have some serious reservations about Trump’s ability to handle the parts of the presidency that don’t involve being on TV. I have always had reservations about the MSM’s ability to handle honest journalism. It strikes me that Trump and the MSM-Dems keeping each other occupied might not be the worst fate which could befall us. At the very least, if it started on such a bizarre note, it ought to be entertaining as hell.
— Ben Crystal