The media still hasn’t figured out how to deal with Trump and his weaseling skills.
They are using the, “If a democrat did this…” model. That one was blown out of the water early. But Trump has even surpassed the “It’s Okay When You Are Republican” model. And they are light years away from the “If a regular person did this”…” model. Normal, Democratic, Republican and Decent people norms haven’t been applying to Trump. The media hasn’t adapted, but we need to.
Now I could coach the press on how to bust him, but they are too busy trying to figure out how to stop being humiliated daily.
In a recent Talking Points Memo Josh Marshall was telling the MSM to stop being crybabies about losing access. I saw how Bush treated the DC press like dirt and they ate it up. My friend Eric Boehlert’s great book Lapdogs was all about how the press rolled over for Bush.
If they do get kicked out of the press conferences they might start noticing how Trump has continued to play them. So most of them are beyond help, but that doesn’t mean that WE can’t do their job.
In the piece Marshall also said, “If you’re an activist or politician start mobilizing against his corruption.”
I totally agree with this. And when we do, we need to understand how any stories we uncover about him and his corruption will be played out in the mainstream media. We also need to anticipate how Trump will flip a narrative or twist reality to shut down a story. We need to learn to give the press multiple story lines.
That means we might start with salacious headlines but keep going deeper than the surface story.
The reason for this is that in the era of Twitter, Trump is alway getting the last word. Getting him to respond to each new aspect of the story keeps the story going. (In the olden day’s people would say, “That story has legs.” Sadly the media do NOT think this way–so we need to.
Preparing a story needs to be like preparing a multi-tiered legal case. We are up against a lawyer in a $5,000 suit with mob ties and a Russian flag pin. We need to prepare for narratives, counter narratives, blatant lying, no follow-up, lying surrogates, threats, veiled threats and unveiled threats. There will be blatant lying, visits from “Friends of Joey No-Socks,” computer hacking and reality hacking.
We need to anticipate Trump’s weasling. Things like “I never said or did what everyone saw me do and say on that video.” Plus the “It’s 3:00 am, here is a new Tweet to write about!” problem.
So, let’s play a game called “I’ve uncovered a new case of Trump corruption!”
Think you have a “slam dunk” case against Trump? Ask yourself, based on what we know now about how Trump responds, what would make the story fail?
It’s great to get damning info and evidence of corruption, but we must keep working up the chain of this scandal/story. We know that it will be dismissed, spun, handled, ignored and normalized.
I know that playing the “Trump is an idiot” card is fun. But playing cards with an idiot savant who can memorize the deck is going to lead to losing.