Trump World is split on the president’s tweeting. Impassioned supporters think it essential that Mr. Trump communicate to the country without the malignant filter of the mainstream media, while others think his controversial online rants undermine his accomplishments, and his brand.
Here’s the real reason why President Trump should rein in his basest and most pugnacious impulses: those savage tweets about Mika or about the media or about his political critics are working to the benefit of his harshest critics.
In Sunday’s New York Times, the paper notes that its most-read piece was the lengthy compendium entitled “President Trump’s Lies, the Definitive List.” Nearby was a full-page ad placed by one of the country’s most left-wing news organizations ballyhooing “MSNBC’s best quarter…” The ad touts MSNBC’s recent success: “its best quarter ever for total viewers in primetime, better than any quarter in CNN’s history.”
Talk show “Morning Joe” was singled out as having “its biggest win over CNN ever in total viewers.” Almost surely that margin expanded generously in recent days, as co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough basked in the glory of having driven President Trump into a monumental Twitter Tantrum. The president famously tweeted out a nasty bit about Ms. Brzezinski bleeding from a face-lift, and then could not leave the fight unfinished, resuming attacks on Mika and her co-host Joe Scarborough despite a hailstorm of criticism. I can’t even remember what caused this eruption in the first place, but like many others I wish it would go away.
But the MSNBC crew is delighted it hasn’t disappeared; they’re hoping for more headlines. Mika and Joe were supposed to head off for a 4th of July vacation late last week, but stuck around to take advantage of what must have been a dramatic ratings pop. Who wouldn’t capitalize on an opportunity like that?
The problem with Trump’s tweeting is not only that it bolsters his “enemies” in the media; it also saps enthusiasm and airtime for his very real accomplishments.
Like it or not, Donald Trump has brought MSNBC back from death row. In mid-May, the cable news group landed in first place, beating out both CNN and Fox for the first time ever, and was the most-watched network in prime time of all of cable outlets time behind TNT, which benefited from airing numerous basketball games. For the month of May, the network posted 105% growth in its prime time audience, compared to the year before.
Rachel Maddow, card-carrying Trump hater, led the charge, hosting the number one cable news show in May with the all-important 25-54 group. Morning Joe surpassed one million viewers for the first time last month; imagine what June will look like. http://www.adweek.com/tvnewser/may-2017-ratings-for-first-time-since-2000-msnbc-beat-fox-news-cnn-on-weeknights/330611
Meanwhile, the New York Times, another favorite target of Trump Temper, has enjoyed a big jump in subscriptions. Times CEO Mark Thompson makes no bones about it, saying some weeks ago that Trump has provided the “rocket fuel” that led to the first quarter being “the single best quarter for subscriber growth in our history…”
The price of New York Times stock was $11.50 the day after last year’s election; it closed last Friday at $17.70. Who would have thought the election of President Trump would have sent the Grey Lady’s shares soaring 54%?
If President Trump is right that these news organizations are distorting and coloring the news to suit their liberal agenda, and I think he is, he is the first who should deplore their recent success. Success that, for sure, has been delivered at least in part by his Twitter tantrums.
The problem with Trump’s tweeting is not only that it bolsters his “enemies” in the media; it also saps enthusiasm and airtime for his very real accomplishments. For instance, President Trump could have spent his time tweeting about the substantial progress EPA head Scott Pruitt is making rolling back Obama’s costly environmental regulations. The New York Times ran a lengthy story recently, stocked with obligatory high dudgeon and dire warnings, over Pruitt’s moves to dismantle many of Obama’s executive orders and rules, many of which were enacted with little regard for the costs imposed on U.S. industries. This is no small thing, but caught up as we all were last week with the Morning Joe fracas, we might have missed it.
We also might have missed Nicki Haley’s strong rebuke to fellow Security Council members over Iran’s misbehavior and her overdue moves to cut funding to UN peacekeepers. Or Wilbur Ross’ continued efforts to rein in countries that are undermining our steel industry. Or Trump’s successful meeting with India PM Narendra Modi, in which our president pushed for greater access for U.S. companies to India’s vast markets. Or the very real progress in reforming the Veterans Administration, facilitated by a law signed by President Trump allowing VA chiefs to fire nonperforming underlings. Or the various measures recently enacted cutting down on illegal immigration.
The country needs to hear about these things, given that the liberal media will not herald Trump’s accomplishments. The best source will be the president himself. We need the Trump Agenda to move forward, and for that the president needs to command the enthusiasm and respect of a big slice of the country. If his personal energies and air time are given over to disagreeable controversies instead of ginning up that support, he will be missing a very real and valuable opportunity.