More in Trump’s Twitter Trolling

Polkamatic makes the following comment under my post on Trump’s Twitter trolling:

So the POTUS sees trolling the media as an appropriate activity for a sitting POTUS. Maybe even his top priority, by the looks of it. And by reporting on this bizarre state of affairs, the MSM is somehow wasting its time and money, because there’s nothing the viewing public is less interested in seeing than a tawdry spectacle.

This deserves a proper response. Let me take this part first:

So the POTUS sees trolling the media as an appropriate activity for a sitting POTUS. Maybe even his top priority, by the looks of it.

This is obviously true: Trump seems to spend as much time trolling the media as he does anything else. Is this appropriate for an American president? Personally I don’t think it is, but then I also believe it’s a moot point.

If Americans wanted a president who acts in a presidential manner, then they ought to have left the door open for such a candidate to step forward and get themselves elected. Instead, the media and political establishment decided they would back the Democratic candidate regardless and carry out a complete and utter character assassination of the Republican candidate. I remember when Mitt Romney ran against Barack Obama: he was called a Nazi, a religious fundamentalist, a misogynist, and a tax-evader. He then spent the entire campaign mumbling apologies, explaining himself, and reacting to every media revelation his political opponents aired. Sure enough, he lost by a mile. Had Jeb Bush won the Republican nomination in 2016, the same thing would have happened to him and we’d now be listening to President Clinton screech at us from our TV screens.

I’ve said it many times on these pages, Trump is a symptom of the malaise in American politics, not the cause of it. The reason you have an egotistical asshole in the White House is because the media and political establishment made it impossible for any decent non-Democrat to win a presidential election. Any Republican candidate who would have behaved in a presidential manner in office would never have got close to the White House, he’d have been destroyed by the media using every dirty trick in the book to bring him down. This didn’t work on Trump because he simply didn’t care, had his own money, owed nobody anything, and refused to apologise.

My post was simply to point out that Trump figured out the media’s role in American politics and rather than reacting to every story they put out about him, he plays the tune while they dance. And let’s be honest here: if he wasn’t doing this, and he had settled into the role and was doing his level best to do his job in a highly professional manner, the media would still be pumping out one anti-Trump hatchet-job after another, wailing about Russia and calling for his impeachment. Anyone who thinks the media, political establishment, and Democrat supporters would allow a Republican president to quietly get on with the job at hand is absolutely deluded.

And by reporting on this bizarre state of affairs, the MSM is somehow wasting its time and money, because there’s nothing the viewing public is less interested in seeing than a tawdry spectacle.

As I said in the original post, the people screaming about Trump are preaching to the choir. Part of the reason Trump was able to shrug off the media attacks during the election campaign was because millions of Americans had come to believe they are interested only in political campaigning and are hence highly selective about the stories they choose to cover. The diminished influence of the MSM was laid bare when, against all their dreams and predictions, Trump won and Hillary lost. If there was ever a time for self-reflection and recalibration, that was it. Instead, they’ve just trebled-down on the hysteria and hammered the point home they’re partisan hacks with no interest in reporting objective truth.

Is the public interested in a tawdry spectacle? Well, it certainly provides plenty of Twitter-fodder but the likes of the NYT, WaPo, BBC, and CNN are not tabloids: I am sure most Americans would prefer it if they started reporting the news properly instead of pasting up headlines regarding who said what about Trump on Twitter. Now maybe the MSM is enjoying healthy profits by pursuing this approach, but my bet is they’re losing money hand over fist.

On another note, I don’t think Trump’s method of communication is part of some overall grand strategy, I think he’s just doing what comes naturally to him. But regardless of why he’s doing it, the effects are substantial. I don’t know why he retweeted the videos that Britain First put up but it caused all manner of journalists, celebrities, and politicians to vent their outrage at what they see as his endorsement of a racist party. This has had the knock-on effect of:

1. Highlighting the rank hypocrisy among Britain’s political and media establishments. Jeremy Corbyn is a long-standing supporter of the IRA and Hamas, anti-semitism is rife across the British left, people with blood up to their elbows are welcomed with open arms, yet Trump retweeting a video from Britain First is deemed beyond the pale.

2. Exposing who is thinking what in Britain’s supposedly Conservative political circles. I wouldn’t expect any Conservatives to endorse Trump, but if they’re queuing up behind Labour politicians and left-wing media loudmouths in calling him “racist” and “not welcome in Britain” and “irresponsible” then they’re doing everyone a big favour. I suspect much of the British public couldn’t care less about Trump’s tweets and when they hear he’s posted something on a subject their own political classes refuse to address, they’re probably quite glad. I haven’t seen the videos in question (I generally find this sort of thing on Twitter to be presented in a wholly misleading context), but if the political classes think Trump tweeting videos of Muslims allegedly being violent and murderous is something that will horrify the public, they’ve not been paying attention.

3. It is now confirmed that retweeting does indeed equate to endorsing. Expect the trolls to have some fun with this over the next few weeks.

Trump’s tweets are often filled with infantile posturing, but the reaction to them is stuff that will fascinate historians and social anthropologists for years to come.

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7 thoughts on “More in Trump’s Twitter Trolling

  1. This is obviously true: Trump seems to spend as much time trolling the media as he does anything else. Is this appropriate for an American president? Personally I don’t think it is, but then I also believe it’s a moot point.

    Trump doesn’t troll the media for fun. It is a strategy, and a necessary one at that due to the power of the media and their extreme bias. He is the only modern politician who has been able to counter the media and for that he is somehow beneath the dignity of the office?

    As always conservatives don’t mind losing as long as they lose well. But boy do they hate it when someone comes along and decides that it’s not cool to lose any more.

  2. I doubt Trump spends that much time on his tweets, couple of minutes most of the time. How much time do his enemies spend on reacting to his tweets as compared to time looking at what he is actually doing? It’s a great way to distract and divert his enemies.

  3. I get it that folk may be riled about the likes of the despicable ethnic Indian Priti Patel conspiring with a foreign government to transfer British tax payer money to them but I find it hard to believe that antisemitism is rife across the British left, unless its some kind of policy push to get them to move back to the Blairite approach. I was brought up in a very left leaning family and community, antisemitism as a political position just didn’t feature in any aspect nor was it even a discussion point and I cant see why it would have somehow started to. I certainly haven’t picked up on it from any family or UK friends either. If the tiny number of Jewish voters have now moved away from Labour in favour of the Conservatives then so be it, I can’t see a problem with this, that is democracy and the number of votes that we are talking about is immaterial with respect to shaping political priorities.

  4. Bardon, I suggest you take a gander at Guido Fawkes’s site order-order.com. He has been documenting the incidence of anti-Semitism endemic in the Labour Party for a while now.

  5. It’s asymmetric warfare – the media are lying hysterically through their teeth daily about him, he responds by trolling them. Both are ridiculous and unseemly, but if Trump desisted the media wouldn’t change a thing, and he’d be toast.

  6. A good comment, and the comparison with Mitt Romney is particularly interesting. Here’s a guy who was hugely successful in the private sector, the public sector (the Olympics), and then in elected office as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. A pretty good CV. Plus, in 2012, America was trying to recover from a brutal recession. So you might think someone with real world experience would be a plus.

    And then as you say his record was utterly slated, he was portrayed as a parody of Mr Burns, and lost to the incumbent mediocrity that was already showing signs of both boredom and being out of his depth.

    Meanwhile along comes Trump, another Republican from a Democratic state, and runs the table (despite a decent but weaker claim to be a successful businessman and with zero public sector experience). His complete disdain for the media has to be the critical factor. The blatant attempts to portray him as a Republican backwoods bible basher backfired — seriously, does anyone actually believe Trump gives a crap about abortion or has an animus against gays or any of this nonsense? He’s from Manhattan!

    It’s not edifying, but of the two sides in this face-off, one is sitting in the White House, and the other is bleeding money and laying off “journalists” every other day.

  7. seriously, does anyone actually believe Trump gives a crap about abortion or has an animus against gays or any of this nonsense? He’s from Manhattan!

    This is something I find myself pointing out to people a lot. Trump has been a household name since the 80s and a TV celebrity for at least a decade before he became President. He’s a New York billionaire playboy through-and-through, and a property developer to boot. He is clearly a womaniser, but everyone knew that already; the idea that he is also racist (in the old sense of the word) and anti-gay is laughable. There is absolutely no evidence of either of these, and if there were his reputation would have been known long before he ran for political office.

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