Is it a sign of things to come in 2020?
Here’s the tale — a tale that seems remarkably similar to the 2016 reality that had the liberal media and Democrats (but I repeat myself) caught sleeping about the rise of Donald Trump.
The story starts with that Nike shoe that was announced as the Fourth of July approached. As is well known now, Nike put the Betsy Ross flag — the original Stars and Stripes with the field of thirteen stars in a circle — on the back of a new model of sneakers. Ex-football player and infamous national anthem kneeler Colin Kaepernick, a Nike hero, protested — and Nike quickly pulled the plug on the shoe.
Amidst the ocean of publicity, Rush Limbaugh decided to do something. Consulting with wife Kathryn the two quickly came up with a T-shirt bearing the Betsy Ross flag. Beneath the flag were the words: “Stand Up For Betsy Ross!” Beneath that it read simply “The Rush Limbaugh Show” with Rush’s name in signature form. Proceeds would benefit the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the late Mr. Siller a Brooklyn fireman who lost his life saving others during the 9/11 attack in New York.
And suddenly? Suddenly The Rush Limbaugh Show Store was inundated with requests for the shirt. Tens of thousands — say again tens of thousands — were sold within minutes — minutes! — of Rush’s announcement on his show. Rush was astounded at the massive, instant response. I asked him about this and he told me the shirt had on the spot become the Rush store’s “hottest selling item. We had to re-order after 5 hours yesterday and we do NOT do small quantities.”
And the mainstream media coverage of this new development? Zip, zero, nada. On Friday morning Rush made an appearance on Fox and Friends and discussed the instant phenomenon the shirt had become along with other topics. But in the mainstream media? Nothing. Meanwhile the Rush Betsy Ross flag shirt picked up some 100 knock-offs, all of whom, Rush says, will be hearing from his legal team.
But let’s stop here and take note of this moment and what it says about the liberal media. In June of 2015, when Donald Trump descended that escalator in Trump Tower, he was mocked and ridiculed, not least by the mainstream media.
This dismissive ridicule in the media (and in other places as well, like the Hillary campaign) kept right on going all the way through to the election. With the media — as here in the New York Times the day of the election — totally convinced Hillary Clinton was going to clobber Trump. The headline on that Times piece was this: “Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance to win.”
Mind you, that Times story was posted election day! They were utterly clueless.
The point here is obvious. Rush Limbaugh’s Betsy Ross flag shirt is a mammoth hit — and the media takes no notice whatsoever. Which says in turn that the liberal media is well on the way to repeating exactly the same mistake they made in 2016. They are so out of touch with Americans outside their New York/Washington/Hollywood bubble that they have no idea how tired Americans are of all the hatred directed at their country.
From open borders to ridicule of the Fourth of July ceremony and Nike’s Colin Kaepernick-induced quick fold and dump of a shoe paying tribute to a legendary American heroine — a woman at that — Americans have had enough. They are regularly assailed as racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant and all the rest and they are tired of all of it. The Limbaugh Betsy Ross flag T-shirt and the idea of “Stand Up For Betsy Ross” became, all on its own, a giant push back to both the liberal media and elites.
What is so striking here is the overwhelming response — and its instantaneous not to mention spontaneous nature. In his Fox and Friends appearance Friday morning Rush said this:
You have people, in the case of the soccer team, that want to be on the team, they want to represent America. They go out and perform and they achieve something magnificent athletically,” he said. “And what do they do with the platform? Start trashing America. They start beating up on the country they claimed they wanted to represent.
….Kaepernick looks at a pair of tennis shoes. ‘I don’t like that flag. That flags stands for this and that.’ Nike goes ‘Okay, we’ll cancel it.’ I’m tired of this with no pushback.
…There are millions of Americans who do not respect and do not think it’s cool to constantly trash America and blame America when the people doing it have become incredibly wealthy. They have never-ending opportunities. They have had more opportunity than anybody in the world ever. They still persist in wanting to trash and criticize and blame America.
…It’s getting tiresome to listen to a never-ending parade of people on the left rip this country, criticize this country, blame this country and when none of what they’re saying is applicable. This is not the land of grievance. This is the land of opportunity. This is the land of wealth and prosperity like nowhere has ever been in American or world history.”
Thus, Rush came up with the T-shirt idea as a “vehicle to push back because there’s a lot of people who feel a little powerless.”
And push back the American people did. Rush added this on his Friday afternoon show:
“It’s a record item that we have sold. We’ve had to reorder every day. This morning we ran out of large, medium, and extra large within 30 minutes of the appearance on Fox.
We had 35,000 people logged into the store at one time during the Fox appearance. Earlier this week during one of my mentions on the program for the Stand Up for Betsy Ross T-shirt, we had 30,000 people in the store at one time. The numbers here are incredible.”
The question now is: will the liberal media get the message behind this amazing moment? Will they understand its potential political significance as a sign of serious strength for Trump in the 2020 campaign? And beyond that, the success of conservative media, the latter with Rush in the lead.
Answer? Of course not. To the extent the liberal media is aware of the shirt you can bet that its arrival was met with an eye rolling disdain. The very fact of the shirt’s zero coverage in the mainstream media is itself a mark of the vast distance between the media and the American people.
All of which indicates that the media coverage of the 2020 election may boil down to nothing more complicated than media elites portraying America as a rotten, terrible, racist country — with millions of furious Americans, proud of their country, showing up in droves to re-elect Trump as a way of pushing back at media and other elites.