It’s no secret that Stephen K. Bannon, the past chairman of Breitbart News and now a senior strategist to the president, is behind much of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric. The idea of the media as the “opposition party” or the “enemy” — two phrases Trump has used of late to describe those who cover him — is pure Bannon.
.. But, even by Bannon’s standards, he seemed to ramp up his attacks on the media and offer a very clear message to political journalists: You think this is bad? Just wait.
.. “It’s going to get worse every day for the media,” Bannon said, insisting that the “corporatist” media would continue to see Trump pursue exactly the sort of economic nationalism that journalism allegedly despises. Then he added this call to arms: “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”
.. The message from Bannon was unmistakable: The enemy of Donald Trump and those who think like him is not, really, Democrats but, in actuality, the media. And the only way to combat the media is to fight like hell against them on everything and anything.
.. As I’ve noted before, presidents (and their staffs) always have an adversarial relationship with the press.
.. But what Bannon and, by extension, Trump are up to is something very different than simply an adversarial working relationship with the media. Bannon doesn’t want to change the media. He wants to totally dismantle the media. He wants to break its back and leave it for dead by the side of the road. And he’s not afraid of telling the media to their faces about that plan.
.. That was the message Bannon wanted to get across at CPAC. That Trump — and he — would never back down. That the perceived scorn of the so-called “mainstream media” only made him more convinced that the course Trump is taking is right. And that things are going to get plenty worse for the media over the next four years.
It’s a remarkable declaration of all-out war on the media from one of the most powerful people in the Trump White House.
See, he’s going to act presidential, as promised, but that doesn’t include the temperament and judgment part of the act. It’s beyond his range. Imagine Trump with the daily briefing in the White House, trying to discern a tabloid rumor from a national security threat.
.. An easy take-back was breaking the promise to self-finance his campaign. He claims to be a billionaire, beholden to no one. Let the beholding begin. “Do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund?” he said this week, by way of announcing he’s open to donations from special interests. “I don’t know that I want to do that personally.”
.. Mexican immigrants — presumably still rapists and criminals in his mind, without doubt, but unlike the convicted rapist and registered sex offender Mike Tyson, not sold on Trump.
.. “The blacks,” or as Trump now calls them, “the African-Americans,” will be a hard sell as well. They will not forget that Trump spent considerable time trying to delegitimize the first African-American presidency. He sent his investigators to Hawaii, looking to prove that the president was not an American citizen. What they found was “absolutely unbelievable,” Trump said, but he’s never released it. Here you should read “unbelievable” in the literal sense.
.. Women — big, big problem there for a thrice-married man who said his personal Vietnam was keeping himself safe from the “scary world” of women with sexually transmitted diseases. Can’t take back “fat pigs” and “dogs” and “disgusting animals,” or musing about punishing women who get abortions.