Labor Day is often regarded as the official kickoff of the presidential campaign season. The party nominating conventions are over and many states are preparing to begin early voting and vote-by-mail operations. So it isn’t surprising to see Donald Trump abuse the power of his office to hold yet another “press conference” at the White House that is nothing more than a reelection rally at taxpayers expense (which the media really needs to stop covering).
This alleged press conference was one of the most unfocused to date by Trump, who spent it unleashing a smorgasbord of familiar grievances. He ran the gamut from Barack Obama spying on his campaign, to the election being rigged, to Nancy Pelosi blocking pandemic relief, to Joe Biden being “clueless” and “stupid,” to the economy recovering, to coronavirus being cured. He even gave Vladimir Putin another pass for poisoning political opponent Alexei Navalny.
Virtually everything Trump asserted during the hour plus harangue was demonstrably false. The U.S. intelligence community has investigated the probes into Trump’s collusion with Russia and found that, not only is there zero evidence of Obama spying, there is ample proof of Trump’s misconduct. The only election rigging that has been uncovered is that done by Trump himself, who even committed a felony by telling his cult followers to vote twice. Pelosi passed a relief bill months ago that has been sitting on GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s desk as he refuses to negotiate. The economy is in recession. The coronavirus is still taking the lives of more than 1,000 Americans a day. But Putin remains the only person in Trump’s world that doesn’t have a derogatory nickname.
Trump’s list of grievances should sound familiar to anyone who watches Fox news. It’s a rehashing of the core issues that dominate Fox’s daily programming. [To see just how integrated Trump is to Fox News check out Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth by Brian Stelter] Not only do all of the Fox hosts and commentators disseminate the very same propaganda, but Trump is on almost as often as the network regulars to deliver the same spiel. And for the most part, Fox News is the only network that routinely airs Trump’s events live and uninterrupted. That is likely gnawing at the Narcissist-in-Chief who has become accustomed to being the center of attention all the time.
The result of this blanketing of Trump on Fox’s air alone is that his most brainwashed supporters are getting their brains an extra scrubbing on a regular basis. But his message isn’t going out to anyone else. That’s a big problem as the campaign season unfolds. In 2016, Trump didn’t have to spend much money because the media covered everything he did. Without that free advertising, 2020 is shaping up to be a much more difficult environment for him. There is even speculation that he is already running out of money.
Trump has recently pulled ads in critical battleground states. Joe Biden, meanwhile, just collected a record $364 million in donations in August. And he is outspending Trump for ads by more than 10-to-1. What’s more, it’s telling that Trump hasn’t even released his August financial reports yet. That generally portends bad news. Politicians don’t delay good news.
Trump apparently thinks he can win this race by appearing almost exclusively on Fox News and running on a platform developed by Fox’s most devoted Trump-fluffers. That’s a preposterous strategy. On its best night Fox draws about one percent of the nation’s population. If Trump is only seen on Fox News, whose viewers are already supporting him, he can’t possibly expand his base beyond the worshipful audience of Foxic true believers. And there aren’t enough of them to win an election.
However, Trump could run for President of Fox News. He has all the qualifications. He is obnoxious and arrogant and convinced of his own magnificence. He has a profound ignorance of the world and the issues that are most important to voters. He is completely at ease lying about things that are easily proven false. And he is comfortable subjugating himself to others with real power. The one thing that may stand in his way is all the times he has attacked Fox News and predicted their downfall. Not that Fox seems to mind. They take it like a battered spouse and ask for more.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.