CNN’s Brian Stelter devoted an entire segment of Sunday’s Reliable Sources to complaining about “Trump’s Anti-Media Playbook.” The chyron at the bottom of the screen suggested that President Trump treats the media with “hostility and mockery,” apparently failing to realize those adjectives perfectly describe the media’s treatment of President Trump. Stelter’s guest for the segment, Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik, engaged in plenty of “hostility and mockery” towards President Trump by referring to him as an “adolescent psychopath” and a “laughingstock.”
The segment began with Stelter’s objection to former Trump aide Corey Lewandowski telling Congress “I have no obligation to be honest with the media…because they’re just as dishonest as anybody else.” Stelter offered a rebuttal: “I don’t know what Corey learned growing up but I was taught ethics in school and in church. I was taught morals about honesty and mutual respect.”
Is that what he gives Trump? “Mutual respect”?
While Stelter complained that the “venom is getting worse every year that the Trump era goes on,” Zurawik seemed to have no problem dispensing a little “venom” himself; quipping: “with Trump, when…in individual remarks, you never know whether it’s the impulsive act of a arrested and adolescent psychopath acting on impulse or a calculated political strategy. But there is clearly, there is a long-range strategy at play here and it’s deride and conquer.”
Stelter loved that phrase, “deride and conquer.” Zurawik elaborated: “Remember this week, he said we’re a laughingstock internationally. That’s a little bit of projection. I don’t think we’re a laughingstock internationally, I think our President is the person who’s laughed at internationally.”
(Speaking of laughingstocks, Zurawik recently wrote that disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams has a terrific MSNBC show, and compared it to “Ted Koppel’s Nightline during its glory years in the 1980s and ’90s when it was the last word on news and set the national agenda like no other newscast on network or cable. It was the one indispensable news program of the day.” That’s how out of touch Mr. Z is with conservatives.)
Zurawik warned “If they can mock us to the point where people don’t take us seriously and we don’t back up our effort, if we don’t show integrity, if we don’t have some teeth in our reporting, they will do it. And Brian, we are the last best hope between Trump and an imperial presidency.” That’s the “long game,” an imperial presidency.
The “short game” is re-election: “He needs an enemy during this campaign to get reelected and he doesn’t have Hillary Clinton and his talk about the radical Democrat socialists on the left isn’t going so well. He gets automatic praise from his base when he pounds the press and fights with us. Brian, as you’ve said on this show, it is only going to get worse. It’s going to get awful in coming months.”
Stelter was thrilled at everything his guest was saying, ending the segment: “David, I could talk to you for years, maybe we will, but we’re out of time for now. David, thank you so much.”