For over a year now, millions of Americans have been criticizing the mainstream media for the way they’ve covered Donald Trump’s campaign. While they’ve gotten slightly better at scrutinizing things he’s said and done, and holding his surrogates accountable for their ridiculous statements during interviews, they’re still not treating him like they would any other presidential candidate. Especially considering how they covered him for most of the past year, when he was treated more like a reality TV celebrity in the midst of a really long episode of “The Apprentice” rather than a legitimate candidate who eventually went on to win the GOP’s nomination for president. That victory was largely achieved because both the media and the Republican party failed to take his candidacy seriously until it was already too late.
The truth is, Trump has been great for ratings and the mainstream media has made a whole lot of money because of his popularity. Without a doubt, support him or hate him, he brings in the ratings and website traffic — which then generates a whole lot of revenue. They could have squashed his campaign last summer when they all knew what type of reprehensible individual he is. But they were never going to do that because Trump’s campaign was just too damn good for business.
However, as most of the mainstream media has refused to do its actual job, everyone could see that Trump has been playing them throughout his campaign.
No matter what anyone might think of Trump, one thing he deserves credit for is he’s one hell of a salesman and self-promoter. For over a year he’s used the media as his own personal campaign tool — while also relentlessly bashing that very same media. Because of the media’s constant obsession with him, and desire to “play nice” as much as possible so they can keep using him for ratings spikes, he’s benefited from over a billion dollars in free exposure for his campaign. Hell, I’ve seen the media sit there discussing Trump while showing an empty podium well before he’s scheduled to give a speech.
It’s been ridiculous.
Well, on Friday, the media got exactly what they deserved as Trump used their obsession with him to stage what was nothing more than a giant promotion of his campaign, under the guise of finally delivering a statement about whether or not he believes President Obama is an American citizen.
What actually transpired was a nearly half-hour event where Trump spent a good portion of it promoting his new hotel and letting veterans explain why they’re supporting him for president — followed by four sentences delivered in 27 seconds where he quickly said he believes the president is an American… then repeated the soundly debunked lie that the racist birther conspiracies he spent nearly eight years pushing were started by Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump knew the media would hang on his every word so he set this stage to promote his new hotel and his campaign. He knew he could treat the deplorably racist belief he spent eight years pushing that President Obama wasn’t an American citizen like some sort of afterthought — then he still pushed the conspiracy that Clinton was the one who started it all.
Here are a few comments I saw after Trump made them look like a bunch of fools:
CNN’s John King: We got played, again, by the Trump campaign, which is what they do. He got a live event broadcast for some 20 minutes.
CNN’s Jake Tapper: It’s hard to imagine this as anything other than a political Rick Roll. We were told that this was going to be Donald Trump addressing something that his top campaign advisers, people in the Republican National Committee want him to address, and then clear up, and then stop talking about.
Fox News’ Shepard Smith: He did an eight minute live commercial on all channels for his new hotel in Washington, then brought out American heroes to extol his greatness, then said the first black President of the United States really is an America citizen, gave no explanation for his previous statements to the contrary, or the reason for the change in position, then said Hillary Clinton started it, which she did not.
CNN’s John Berman: To be clear, we have been told this event would be an event where Donald Trump would address his past trafficking in the birther issue, the notion that President Obama was not born in the United States. He opened the event making a plug for his hotel, it is a new hotel, so in a sense, you could say he was leveraging five years of birther conspiracy to promote his hotel.
When Donald J. Trump planned this speech, he knew exactly what he was doing and the media fell for it hook, line and sinker.
It’s rare you’ll ever see me remotely praise Donald Trump, but I’ll be one of the first to admit that, on Friday, he gave the Trump-obsessed mainstream media exactly what they deserved.