Once-reputable Newsweek compares President Trump to Charles Manson

Newsweek continues to embarrass the legacy of the once-reputable publication with anti-Trump hit pieces on a regular basis, but a recent story titled, “How murderer Charles Manson and Donald Trump used language to gain followers,” takes things to a dark new level.

The left-leaning publication literally compared a convicted mass murderer and cult leader to the President of the United States. Former President of the American Psychoanalytic Association Mark Smaller told Newsweek that part of Manson’s power lay in the type of language he used.

“A charismatic leader knows how to speak to people in a way that will emotionally engage those people,” he said.

Smaller said we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers.

“It's almost predictable that some idiot online will write an outlandish story connecting Trump to the villain du jour, all designed to generate web traffic and ad dollars."

- Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor, vice president of Media Research Center, which documents liberal media bias, called the piece “clickbait” and said Newsweek stopped being a legitimate news organization years ago.

“It's almost predictable that some idiot online will write an outlandish story connecting Trump to the villain du jour, all designed to generate web traffic and ad dollars. We worked through all the major historical villains the media could tie the president to -- Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini. They called him a strongman, a dictator and worse. Now it's Manson, Weinstein and probably Mugabe,” Gainor told Fox News. “The media are running out of hyperbole. It's all embarrassingly stupid. No one gets held to account for it. And the cycle begins again with the next clickbait article.”

Newsweek reporter Melissa Matthews, who wrote the piece, has recently written such other gems as “Why more orgasms can relieve sinus pressure,” and “Is PMS real or a myth?” 

FILE - In this 1969 file photo, Charles Manson is escorted to his arraignment on conspiracy-murder charges in connection with the Sharon Tate murder case. Authorities say Manson, cult leader and mastermind behind 1969 deaths of actress Sharon Tate and several others, died on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. He was 83. (AP Photo, File)


Newsweek did readers the favor of noting that “Smaller is clear that he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to Manson, who was convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six others, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics,” but that explanation doesn’t appear until the fourth paragraph and beneath a video, photo and advertisement.

“Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government,” Smaller told Newsweek. “They feel very responded to and become his political base.”

The story goes on to say, according to Smaller, that cult followers like those in the Manson family are so “seduced by feelings of acceptance and understanding that they accept their leaders’ ideologies regardless of how destructive or dangerous they may be.”

The piece also essentially makes the inference that Trump is a manipulator and that manipulators, like cult leaders, prey on people using language.

“One wonders if this article could have been written about any charismatic individual who inspired a large group of people. Especially if the people he inspired viewed this individual as a transcendent figure who could solve all their problems and concerns,” Mediaite columnist Larry O’Connor wrote before suggesting that President Obama fits the description. “But Newsweek would never write that article, would they?”

The article’s comment section includes messages from people that realize how absurd the comparison is. One reader called it “hilariously pathetic” and another said it’s “the dumbest thing I've read in a while.”

A third reader perhaps summed it up best: “Wow, both Manson and Trump used language to gain followers? Next you're going to tell me that they both drank water to quench thirst. You've cracked the case Newsweek. Now every leader will be using language to gain follows.” 



Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.