On the Warpath-The Theatrics of Fury

January 15, 2017 4:58 pm by Jacob McAllister


Trump-Media fued heats up: he unloads on CNN to the delight of his base

Trump is on the warpath.

Fresh off of the heels of the explosive dossier released by CNN, team Trump is firing back at the media. He used his very first press conference since becoming President-elect to unload on the network:

Leveling charges of “fake news” at the the organization, Trump lambasted anchor Jim Acosta, Senior White House Correspondent. “Not you. Your organization is terrible,” Trump said before delivering the aforementioned line which set his army of deplorables howling.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweedly Deedly Deet

Trump then took his message to the people via his favorite medium:

And then launched his best one yet:

The “@OANN” stands for One America News Network, a radically pro-Trump media outlet who just hired former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on as a commentator. So, to refute what he calls a “fake” story, he cites a openly pro-Trump propaganda arm. In other words, “fake news” that attacks him is garbage and should be labelled as such, but any source that is flattering to him is reputable and newsworthy. Classic Trump…

The Birth of “Fake News”

It is funny that how lost in all of this is the fact that Donald Trump made his foray into politics by knowingly spreading a false rumor about the first black President in our history not being born in the US.  This is a man who openly courts conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, peddles anti-vaccination rhetoric, and has aligned himself directly with Breitbart News, the go to site of the alt-right. It is truly remarkable to see him take this angle now.

Conservatives have always been quick to take a victim mentality when it comes to the media, claiming that they are constantly under attack from the “liberal media”. Trump knows this well, and he is using it to his advantage. Even those Republicans who may be troubled by his connections and his rhetoric all loved seeing him ding the press. That is a winner for him every time and he knows as much.

TrumpPerformance Art

It is necessary going forward to view Trump as media organization, rather than a “normal” President. His main goal is to manage perceptions, and in aligning himself with muckraker Steve Bannon, the gloves are now off. This will be an administration like no other.

Columbia Journalism Review just released an excellent piece which argues that Trump should be treated by journalists as a media entity. From the article:

Trump’s behavior is not that of a “normal” president, or even a regular politician per se, but of a loud, competitive, digitally attuned, populist media organization. For him, the medium is not just the message, it is the office, too. His chief of strategy Steve Bannon was most recently editor in chief at Breitbart, and will essentially be editor in chief to Trump as president.

Politicians have always seen their personas and policies shaped by the medium that serves them best. But with Trump, we seem to be in new territory. That terrain is mired not only in an interest in how media can serve his political ambitions, but a fusion of presentation and political strategy. The trajectory that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of the radio for fireside chats—and continued with the Age of Television—is reaching its natural conclusion with Trump and the real-time social Web. To cover him, and his presidency, we need to understand the platform on which he stands as not just a vector but a political ideology.

Trump is indeed a fantastic performer, and his furious displays of late are all a part of the act. Some are mesmerized, others disgusted by it. But all should acknowledge it for what it is.

Performance art. At its ugly and cynical best…


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