Frank Miniter: Trump is beating the mainstream media at their own game – Here's how

Just over a week ago the Democratic caucus in Congress was fracturing as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., publicly fought Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

It was an effort by Democratic establishment to bring its progressive wing under control. If it worked, it could have made the Democrats much more formidable in the 2020 election.

But then President Donald J. Trump leapt in on July 14 with a series of tweets telling Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and the three other members of her “squad” to go back and fix the countries they came from.


Ka-Boom! Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to align the forces of her party behind her leadership was blown apart. Suddenly, she had to get behind Ocasio-Cortez and her crew.

Soon every Democratic politician who could find a mainstream media reporter was publicly calling Trump a “racist.” They just can’t wake up to the realization that Trump wants this fire to burn hot. They think Trump is a fool and can’t see that he is playing them for fools.

Trump clearly realizes that running against Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of “the squad” is a winning 2020 strategy.

Meanwhile, Trump is playing the media brilliantly. The mainstream media is going bonkers over this when they should, if they still had their heads, be capable of deflating Trump’s political maneuver with nuance.

There is, after all, actually a lot wrapped up in the “go back” trope Trump used.

The Trump administration was all over the Sunday shows this past weekend saying Trump was really referring to the fact that America is the place so many want to immigrate to because of our freedom and prosperity. In contrast, many other countries are dysfunctional, corrupt, tragic stories.

Trump could have articulated that point better, but then maybe he didn’t want to; maybe what he wants is to trigger the mainstream into losing their minds once again.

It’s too bad the mainstream media is so idiotically gullible, because real criticisms can and should be made of both Democrats and Republicans on these issues.

The Democrats are guilty of stoking racism and racial division with racist identity and gender politics.

Meanwhile, some Republicans, no doubt in part as a reaction to the open-border demands from the Left, have also fallen into identity politics traps. The “go back” to where you came from trope is one and it’s an old one. My ancestors—from Ireland—were once told the same thing.

A related sentiment is the “real America” myth. I used to fall for this one. I’m from New York but spent a year working as a journalist for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. From there I went to a magazine job in New York City. The magazine, Outdoor Life, is written for Americans who, if they don’t live in rural communities, at least long to get out to America’s streams and forests when they can.

So I saw myself as a person who understands both rural and urban America. But then, a conservative who happens to be an ethnic minority living in New York City heard me refer to a trip to “real America,” a fishing trip to Montana, and told me he isn’t comfortable with that label. To him, it was the same as telling him he is not a “real American.”

His perspective made me stop and question what I thought was an innocent view.

This “real America” myth is a nostalgic throwback to a time that seems simpler by comparison, more polite and value-based. But it’s not harmless.

First of all, American was never as simple as a Normal Rockwell painting.

Secondly, this “real America” view excludes all the freedom-loving, hard-working Americans who don’t happen to live in Middle America towns and cities and who don’t happen to be white.

This is one reason why many urban people, especially those of color, think they’re better off voting for Democrats, even if the Democratic Party is the one being exclusionary with its identity politics and even though the Democrat’s policies harm their jobs and businesses with high taxes and stupefying regulations.

The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln; it’s the anti-slavery party. Republicans have long insisted that the natural rights of every person requires that everyone be judged by the decisions they make as individuals, not according to their ethnicity, gender or some other label. Conservatives insist on equal justice under law. The liberal-progressive’s “social justice” runs counter to this equality.

What Republicans are defending is a culture of freedom as outlined in documents such as the U.S. Bill of Rights, not some bygone black-and-white television depiction of America.

Trump knows this. He is from New York City. He built his real-estate empire from Manhattan. He raised his children on New York’s swanky Fifth Avenue. He then became a reality TV star and now the hero president of the forgotten working class across Middle America.


Trump is, however, also a realist. He is beating the media at their own game. So no, this isn’t a divisive age because of Trump’s tweets.

President Trump is simply a man of this age. This is a divisive age that has difficulty solving problems like these because of the arrogance and one-sided nature of today’s mainstream media.