As we know, President Trump doesn’t understand journalism or the role of a free press in a democratic society. He proves his ignorance about news media on a daily basis, as evidenced by his increasingly harsh criticism of “his” TV network, Fox News.
Jack Shafer, a media critic for the “Politico” website, wrote that Trump “knows how to stage a fake fight, like his current brawl with the Fox News Channel... for covering the Democrats, for hiring Democratic strategist Donna Brazile (and) for keeping Juan Williams and Shep Smith on the payroll.” In my opinion, however, Fox News is much more politically diverse than you might have thought by watching left-wing and low-rated CNN and/or MSNBC.
While it’s true that Fox’s right-wing, prime-time opinion anchors — Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham — might as well be on the White House payroll, many other Fox TV journalists like respected veterans Bret Baer, Brit Hume and Chris Wallace maintain their objectivity and professionalism as they attempt to cover our erratic and unpredictable president, who describes the news media as “the enemy.”
“”We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore,” Trump complained via Twitter, as usual. “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” Senior Political Analyst Hume replied moments later. “Our job here is to keep score, not settle scores,” added popular Fox Business Channel Anchor Neil Cavuto, but the battle lines are drawn.
Trump continued to bash the media over the Labor Day weekend after he cancelled a World War II commemorative trip to Poland in order to “monitor” Hurricane Dorian, which was sweeping up the East Coast from Florida to New England. “Trump cancelled his (Poland) trip so he could monitor his golf handicap,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
The Weatherman-in-Chief, who sent out 122 tweets over the long weekend, monitored the storm from a golf cart at his luxury resort in Virginia, re-tweeting weather reports he was watching on TV and tweeting that “no one has ever seen a Category Five hurricane,” which was patently false because millions of Americans have endured and survived Category Five hurricanes. Actually, he sounded a lot like Janice Dean, Fox’s “Weather Machine.”
Back to the media, Trump tweeted that “our real opponent isn’t the Democrats... it’s the Fake News Media,” while lavishing praise on “Fox and Friends” and Sean Hannity (his Mini-Me), and trashing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who ridiculed Trump’s offer to buy Greenland, which isn’t all that surprising because our president is a real estate developer at heart.
Trump also found time to trash former FBI Director James Comey yet again and B-List actress Debra Messing, who suggested boycotting businessmen who contribute to the president’s reelection campaign. Due to his extreme narcissism, our thin-skinned president feels the need to fire back at anyone and everyone who doesn’t think he’s the greatest president in American history. However, by doing so he violates a principle I learned a long time ago: Never have more enemies than you can usefully use at any given time. That’s good advice for columnists and politicians.
Despite his recent criticism of Fox News, Politico’s Jack Shafer noted that “Trump so adores Fox that he’s peppered his administration with former Fox News staffers, and five of his former employees have moved on to jobs at Fox,” including former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, one of the president’s most loyal surrogates. And on and on it goes...
My conclusion: Thank God for the First Amendment.
Guy W. Farmer has worked in and around journalism for more than 50 years.