Monday, June 26, 2017

No Message

The relationship between the Trump Administration and the media reached a ridiculous new low last week when TV cameras were banned from the daily White House briefing.  CNN actually brought in a sketch artist to capture Press Secretary Sean Spicer's image during the conference--like it was some Federal court hearing or a Renaissance-era drawing of a king and his court.  Apparently, President Trump is adopting the attitude that if it didn't happen on TV, you can't prove it happened at all.

The camera ban and limited media availability for the President himself is part of a plan to "control the message".  Trump believes that important Presidential statements can made through Twitter posts--his personal one, not the @POTUS government account--where follow up is impossible--and anything proven to be factually incorrect or considered inappropriate can just be deleted (although a billion people will have screen shots of it).

Of course, when the message is as wildly inconsistent as it has been during this administration, the format of its release really doesn't matter.  How many times has the President sent out his Cabinet members, press folks or other subordinates to provide some talking points to the press only to have Trump himself completely contradict them in a speech, a tweet or an interview with Fox News? 

And the President is doing an excellent job of contradicting himself on an almost daily basis.  The best example of that so far has been his claim that there might be tapes of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, only to deny that he has ever recorded anything in the Oval Office.  The President can't blame the media for "misquoting" him or "taking statements out of context" as Trump was pretty clear in what he said both times.

Perhaps President Trump should be brushing up on the history of his office--and pay particularly close attention to the term of Calvin Coolidge.  Coolidge was known as "Silent Cal" for the few things he had to say about anything even while in the Oval Office.  the most famous example of that was when he was seated next to a woman at a state dinner and she wanted to make a bet that she could get him to say more than three words.  His reply: "You lose". 

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