Comedians have figured out the trick to covering Trump

While major news networks have struggled to figure out the right way to cover the Trump administration, political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit. Follow Strikethrough on Facebook! The first few months of the Trump administration have been a goldmine for late-night comedians and political satirists. Shows like Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night With Seth Meyers have enjoyed ratings boosts thanks to their regular lampooning of the Trump White House. But beyond the jokes and sight gags, political satirists have done an excellent job of seriously covering the Trump administration — sometimes even better than major TV news networks. And that’s because while traditional journalists feel compelled to take President Trump’s often absurd statements and conspiracy theories seriously, political satirists have demonstrated an extremely low tolerance for bullshit.

The Trumpers Don’t Hate Media. They Are Media Creations.

I was tempted to say this was a paradox. But it’s too straightforward for paradox. The key truth of Trumpism is that for all the purported hatred of “the media”, the main Trumpers are almost all fundamentally media creatures. They think in media terms. They are media creations.

Trump himself is a self-creation of the 80s and 90s New York City tabloid culture. His comeback in the early part of this century was driven more than most people understand by the success of The Apprentice. Why else do you think people in the Philippines or Kazakhstan paid millions to license Trump’s name? It was the brand driver of the licensing empire which allowed Trump to become the 45th President.

Steve Bannon was a publisher. Before that he was a movie producer. Jared Kushner bought a newspaper and used it to fight his battles in the press. On down the list they are all media people. They don’t hate the media. Indeed, they can only understand most battles in media terms.

.. Shouting and messaging and attacks are the only language they really understand. What they hate is that they feel like they’re losing on the terrain they believe is the only one that really matters.

.. We’ve seen the comical and now perennial pattern in which you’ll read an article which describes a White House brought to its knees by some crisis almost entirely of the President’s making. The answer? Time to fire Reince Priebus. There’s a similar story with Sean Spicer.

.. Throughout, there is this abiding belief that enough assertion and aggression can change anything.

.. If the reporting we see is close to reliable, Jared Kushner is in profound legal jeopardy. He must be scared and scarred by the time he spent in federal prisons visiting his father during his father’s incarceration. But the lesson Kushner apparently learned from this searing experience was to attack always and always harder.

.. This is fascinatingly similar to what triggered Kushner’s father’s final downfall. Charles Kushner was the subject of a tax and campaign finance probe when he pulled a breathtakingly wild attempt to obstruct that investigation by hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law and videotape their sex.

.. Kushner wanted them to complain about chyrons on cable news, call reporters to update stories with White House statements, and unleash surrogates immediately. He was angry that there were no talking points offered to surrogates, the source said. One senior administration official suggested that two aides from the communications shop be dedicated just to updating chyrons.

“Jared didn’t like the idea, he wanted people to get aggressive,” said an outside adviser who was briefed on the meeting. “Jared’s the guy who is rushing the front lines and other people are saying, ‘see, wait, hold, and let’s get a battle strategy.’”

.. the belief that yelling and attacking harder can change broad-ranging criminal probes or the equally implausible belief that the Trump White House’s problem has been insufficiently aggressive attacks against those it perceives as enemies. Almost every problem the Trump White House has had, at least the President and in most cases his top advisors have seen it as a failure out of the communications office to sell the administration’s story.

.. It’s a media event, a media campaign – run for most of the campaign by the candidate more or less on his own, a man with long experience and an intuitive sense of marketing and message. Think about it. Trump seems to spend the better part of his time in the White House watching cable news. It’s not just an obsession with his enemies. It’s who he is, just the way policy people read policies papers. It’s the one language he understands and the only one he thinks – and most of his top advisors think – matters.

Can We Expect an Early Night?

she actually has a campaign, complete with number-crunchers and a turnout machine, whereas her opponent has a bunch of guys playing around with the maps on

.. There will be no riots, the call will come early, and Trump’s concession speech will be a schizophrenic mess — half a conciliatory attempt to save his kids’ brand equity, half a ranting advertisement for Trump TV.

Megyn Kelly’s Pivotal Moment in a Post-Ailes Era at Fox News

Early last year, in an article in The New York Times Magazine, I defined what I called a “Megyn moment,” in a profile of the Fox News host Megyn Kelly:

“When you, a Fox guest — maybe a regular guest or even an official contributor — are pursuing a line of argument that seems perfectly congruent with the Fox worldview, only to have Kelly seize on some part of it and call it out as nonsense, maybe even turn it back on you.”

.. Ms. Kelly, clearly mindful of four years ago, when so many Fox News hosts doubted polls showing an Obama re-election, challenged him. “He’s been behind in virtually every one of the last 40 polls that we’ve seen over the past month, that’s the reality,” she said of Mr. Trump.

But what really set Mr. Gingrich off was when Ms. Kelly said the sexual assault accusations against Mr. Trump were clearly taking a toll, raising questions about whether the candidate was “a sexual predator.” Mr. Gingrich asked why Bill Clinton’s accusers weren’t getting covered, and Ms. Kelly replied by saying that on her show they were.

.. By all accounts, in the absence of Mr. Ailes, Ms. Kelly has been freer to pursue her show on her own terms, which are certainly not in line with those of either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump and therefore not in line with many in the Fox News core audience (let alone those of her old boss Mr. Ailes, who informally advised Mr. Trump before the debates).

.. The same has held true for the Fox contributors who have not embraced Mr. Trump’s candidacy — like Dana Perino, the Republican co-host of “The Five,” and the Weekly Standard writer Stephen F. Hayes. They have been given ample time and freedom to call it as they see it in ways that were not as obviously apparent earlier this year.

.. But there’s a flip side. In this “Free(er) to Be You and Me” environment at Fox, pro-Trump network personalities have become even pro-Trumpier, none more than Sean Hannity, the host whose show follows Ms. Kelly’s. An informal adviser to Mr. Trump, his rhetoric has grown as incendiary as that of his candidate.

.. Mr. Hannity announced on his radio show that if Trump won, he would personally pay to fly President Obama to Canada or, for that matter, Kenya or Indonesia. It was a nod to the fake, old “birther” conspiracy that even Mr. Trump has eschewed after promoting it for years.

.. But if the Murdochs persuade Ms. Kelly to stay, will there be room for her, Mr. Hannity and Mr. O’Reilly?

.. if Mr. Trump will pursue some sort of television news-style venture (he says he has no interest). But if he does, he could conceivably hire Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Hannity