All of Donald Trump’s attacks on news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have always seemed like a calculated move. Like everything else Trump talks about, he figures if he says something enough times, it will either become true, or enough people will believe it to eventually make it true.
So when you hear phrases like “the failing New York Times,” or “their ratings are way, way down,” it can’t be stressed enough that you have to take what the president says with a grain of salt.
Case in point: He has been absolutely hammering on the idea that the NFL is losing ratings since he decided that black players exercising their First Amendment rights was somehow un-American. But to the extent that the NFL’s ratings actually have suffered, most people chalked it up to a glut of available football to watch: Sunday, Monday, and Thursday are now jammed with games. And what’s more, ratings for the league have actually gone up since the president started attacking them.
Now we’re seeing the effects of the “Trump Bump” elsewhere, and it looks much the same. Candidates he endorses do poorly in elections, topics he wants to sway the opinions of Americans on end up getting more people engaged and informed (and therefore further away from the point of view he’s pushing), and even his sabotage of the Affordable Care Act has backfired: Sign-ups are happening at record rates since the inception of the law.
But his number one Orwellian phrase that he loves the most is “fake news.” He works harder at making anything to the left of Sean Hannity seem fake than he even works on his golf swing, and that’s saying something. But he needs people to think that unfavorable media coverage is false — his presidency and possibly his very freedom depend on it. Unfortunately, people outside his echo chamber just aren’t buying it.
According to Standard Media Index, revenues for presidential favorite Fox News have suffered a two percent decline over this same time last year, while CNN has grown nine percent over the same period. And Trump’s most frequent target for the term “failing,” the New York Times, has seen their subscriber growth triple and nearly quadruple every quarter since the election.
Let’s contrast that with what Trump says:
.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2017
We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2017
There’s some fake news going on, but it’s coming out of the White House.
Featured image via Mario Tama/Getty Images