During the Cold War, the Soviets reserved the right to condemn the “aggression” of others while maximizing its own aggression. That became known as the Brezhnev Doctrine. The dominant liberal media has adopted a version of that in its relations with President Trump. Its version of the doctrine could be summed up as: We can aggressively question you, but you must never aggressively question us.
To which Trump replies in effect: Who says so? His total disregard for the media’s game-rigging pieties may upset the mandarins of Washington, but it plays fine in many quarters of the United States. Humorless journalists, after Thursday’s press conference, made it clear they didn’t care for Trump’s joshing at their expense, suggesting darkly that he was deviating from sacred American traditions. No, he was just giving as good as he gets, which many Americans, whose opinion of the media is already low, can understand and appreciate.
Subjecting the media to a sustained and sarcastic critique worked for him in the campaign and will work for him as president. It is his way of taking charge. By holding a high-spirited and long press conference and pre-emptively ridiculing the media’s coverage of it (you will say I “ranted,” but “I am having a good time,” he said), he reasserts control over the news.
After days of the media pounding his proxies, he recognized the need to be his own press secretary. The press conference was in some ways a warm-up to his upcoming rally in Florida on Saturday. The media, as it did during the campaign, will work itself up into a lather over the unorthodoxy of it all. But it is precisely the originality of Trump that made him president and turned him into the first Republican since Reagan that the media can’t roll.
George Neumayr (@george_neumayr) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a contributing editor to The American Spectator and the co-author of “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.” If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.
George Neumayr (@george_neumayr) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a contributing editor to The American Spectator and the co-author of “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.”
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.
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