During the early years of the Iraq war, the so-called Pottery Barn rule -- “you break it, you buy it” -- became a common expression inside the Beltway. Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall suggested on Monday that something like the Pottery Barn rule describes what’s happened to the Republican party: conservative media wrecked it and now, along with Donald Trump, control what’s left of it.
“The rightwing media echo-chamber created a framework in which you are immediately discredited if you do not subscribe to a series of demonstrably false claims, non-facts and theories…all leaving the party ungovernable and vulnerable to a takeover by someone like Donald Trump,” declared Marshall, who added that Slate writer William Saletan “had an observation several months ago which captures this and which I continue to think is one of most apt insights I've seen into contemporary American politics: the GOP is a failed state and Donald Trump is its warlord.”
In Marshall’s account, it gradually dawned on Republicans that one specific media outlet wasn’t the boon they thought it was: “As 'government shutdown' went from being a crazy ass thing Newt Gingrich did…to the top item on the Republican policy agenda, you could hear more and more Republicans saying something like this: We thought it was this great thing that we had our own cable news network as an arm of the GOP or the conservative movement, echoing talking points, spinning the news. But at a certain point we realized Fox News wasn't working for us. We're working for Fox News.”
Marshall observed that righty media types play several key roles on the Trump team (bolding added):
The campaign is now really being run by the head of Breitbart news, the disgraced former CEO of Fox News and talk radio host Laura Ingraham. Yes, yes, I know the latter two don't have formal titles. But look at recent reporting about who Trump is really spending his time with and being advised by. Other than [Rush] Limbaugh taking a sabbatical and taking over as chief strategist, I'm not sure how much more total the conservative media takeover of the rump GOP could be.