Media Criticism

Donald Trump Drives the Media Crazy

There are legitimate reasons to worry about what Trump might do. So why make things up?

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President Donald Trump drives people crazy.

Especially those in the media.

They hate him so much, they leap on every anti-Trump rumor.

The Federalist's Jordyn Pair points out that the press repeatedly told us that a dozen Trump administration members were about to be fired, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and strategists Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.

Months later, all still work for or with the administration.

I actually wish Sessions had been fired, but Trump's staff reshufflings are no more frequent than those of other administrations, including President Obama's. The media so desperately want something bad to happen, to prove Trump's unqualified, that they blow stuff up.

New York Times writers are so upset by Trump's rants against them that they act like he's a Venezuelan dictator who will shut them down. (Wait, don't Times socialists like Venezuelan dictators?)

"Independent Press Is Under Siege as Freedom Rings" was one recent headline.

The evidence?

"The First Amendment," wrote the normally sensible media columnist Jim Rutenberg, "is under near-daily assault from the highest levels of the government."

The "assault" cited was Trump's tweeting out a fake wrestling video, which depicted, as Rutenberg put it, "himself tackling and beating a figure with a CNN logo superimposed."

So what? The video, like professional wrestling, was childish and unpresidential. But it doesn't put the press "under siege." It's a lame joke.

Rutenberg goes on to ask how we can feel good about Independence Day and press freedom "when the president lashes out at The Washington Post by making a veiled threat against the business interests of its owner, Jeff Bezos, suggesting that his other company, Amazon, is a tax avoider. (Where have we seen that sort of thing before—Russia maybe?)"

Hello? In Russia, Putin probably murdered reporters. Trump merely suggested that Bezos dodges taxes.

I threw that at Rutenberg. He emailed back, "That wasn't a reference to murder (but) to executive authority using tax code to squelch free-speech." In Russia, media that criticized Putin were raided and accused of tax fraud.

But Trump hasn't done any of that. There's speculation that he will block a Time Warner merger, but hasn't done it.

Another annoying Times headline: "The Network Against the Leader of the Free World."

The story complained about Trumps "denunciations (of CNN) in stinging tweets and slashing speeches."

Poor CNN. Except the story also quoted the company's president bragging about viewership that's "the highest in the network's history."

For some reason, it didn't mention that CNN's audience is still less than half that of Fox.

But my main objection to that story's headline is the phrase "Leader of the Free World."

The line first appeared in The New York Times when I was 1 year old. An economist argued that the U.S., the "leader of the free world," should lead the fight against Communism.

That made sense. The U.S. was and is the world's wealthiest and most powerful country.

But no president is "leader of the free world." Does President Trump lead Japan? Iceland? Does he lead you?

He's not my leader. The president leads one of three branches of government. He's commander in chief of the armed services. He's not "leader of the free world."

The media obsess about Trump's speeches, tweets and narcissistic behavior as if he were king of the world. But even the president is just one man in a very large bureaucracy.

There are legitimate reasons to worry about what Trump might do. I worry that he'll start a trade war. Or a shooting war. There's plenty to worry about.

So why make things up?

If you worry that Trump will destroy your way of life, the smartest thing to do is to decrease the power of all presidents: Shrink the executive branch back to the humble role it had when the founders wrote the Constitution.

Make sure Congress passes declarations of war before the U.S. goes to war. Don't let any president rule through executive orders. Make sure Congress passes laws instead of letting federal agencies write rules.

A president's job is to execute laws. The fewer and simpler those laws, the easier it will be to prevent crazy things from happening.

COPYRIGHT 2017 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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  1. Ahh, Mr Mustache (and a grand one it is), always so optimistic. How do you stay so optimistic after all these years? Even when you condemn, as here, it still sounds optimistic and fresh and cheerful in an old fashioned Norman Rockwell kind of way.

    Always a pleasure to read.

  2. Damn John Stossel and his calm, considered, reasoning! What we need is kore panic and hyperbole! And exclamation marks!!!!!!!! Lots of them!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. What we actually need is some links that support statements like “repeatedly told us that a dozen Trump administration members were about to be fired”. Trust, but verify, you know?

  3. “In Russia, media that criticized Putin were raided and accused of tax fraud.”

    Which, for the record, is also what happened to the news media that criticized FDR. But you will not be finding Times articles about that.

    1. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus.
      Lincoln closed news outlets and had editors arrested.
      Lincoln’s attacks on the 1st Amendment

  4. Why are all of stossel’s articles posted in the middle of the night?

    1. So Hihn cannot get to them right away.

  5. In 1980 the media and Dems were tasked with getting the US to lay down its weapons–weapons designed specifically to fight National Socialism–and surrender. Their Freeze and Surrender movement failed, and everyone blamed the prez, not the platform more voters had preferred. Same thing today. The Dems faced the same choice they faced in 1932: copy the Liberal Party repeal plank or be defeated. Their platform committee chose to ignore repeal and offer instead to ban and cripple energy production based on the Revealed Faith of Climate Eugenics. Mindful that these are kleptocratic looters we’re talking about, did you really expect them to admit they were wrong?

  6. “Donald Trump Drives the Media Crazy”

    That’s not a drive. That’s a short putt.

    1. It’s a gimme, really.

  7. “He’s not my leader. The president leads one of three branches of government. He’s commander in chief of the armed services. He’s not “leader of the free world.””.

    “A president’s job is to execute laws.”

    Yes, but in addition to being the head of the executive branch, he is also the head of state. And it’s that role that seems to cause all of the problems. People in this country and abroad don’t look to the President as the head of the executive branch, they look to him as the head of state. In short, they long for the imperial presidency. It’s the kind of thing that sometimes makes me wonder if we’d be better off with those two roles being filled by different people.

    1. Truly, Donald Trump is the Zaphod Beeblebrox of American Presidents.

      1. After Obumbles? Seriously? I mean, yes, Trump is a Clown. But so was Obumbles, and he could be bullied a lot easier.

      2. Call me ignorant (just don’t call me collect), but who the hell is Zaphod Beeblebrox?

        1. Really? Quick, turn around and you might find the turnip truck you rode in on.

          Zaphod is/was:
          Voted “Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe” seven consecutive times.
          The best Bang since the Big One
          Owner of the hippest place in the universe
          President of the Galaxy
          The only man to have survived the Total Perspective Vortex

          I could go on but my humility forbids it.

    2. Maybe we should have just had a king as head of state.

      1. Sure, if I get to decide who is king.

  8. He drives the media crazy. That is his most redeeming quality.

    Thanks to Stossel for putting some perspective in the media when the standard appear to be to call anyone that does not agree with a preformed opinion, racist, fascist or get a comparison to Hitler.
    Politics and media have replaced facts and debate with outrageous hyperbole.

    1. To me, his most redeeming quality is that he’s unwittingly reminding big-government types as to why we have checks and balances to begin with. It’s without much confidence that I hope the left learns its lessons as to why we don’t want a “god-king” as head of the Executive branch.


  9. So why make things up?

    Because if they didn’t make things up, they would need to admit that constantly pushing more and more power onto the President might, just might, be a bad idea. Since they don’t believe it is a bad idea, they need to attack Trump on anything and everything because they need the right top man in the job.

    There are a whole lot of legitimate reasons to have issues with the Trump administration, but not a single one of those reasons are something the press wants to talk about because truth be told they don’t really have a problem with Trump’s policies generally speaking. Sure, they might hate things like a temporary travel ban but tariffs? Infrastructure? More spending? Government-controlled health care? Gay marriage? They agree on those things by and large.

    So, for them, it’s mostly about the (R) and getting a (D) back into office.

  10. I think the only way we can shrink government at this point is to get some constitutional amendments passed that fix those bugs in the system. People are going to point at court rulings, executive powers and the Almighty Commerce Clause as excuses for why their sacred but shitty law shouldn’t be repealed… or worse, they’ll just go “I’m breaking the law, what are you gonna do, impeach me? Vote me out of office?” Remember that some incumbents would keep winning re-election even if they were regularly making child sacrifices on the Capitol steps, because TEAM!!!

    One amendment to narrow the scope of regulating “interstate commerce”, another to enact penalties for going against the Constitution (enforced by military action), another to establish term limits for all elected officials, and one more to establish firm nationwide guidelines for holding elections. It may take the ol’ Article V maneuver to make this a reality, but at least we’re inching towards that.

  11. RE: Donald Trump Drives the Media Crazy

    No, the media drive themselves crazy.
    One thing I learned a long time ago, only a complete asshole can make you crazy.

  12. The entire country is talking about Don Jr., the White House is freaking out about it, and the best we get from Reason is an AM link and John Stossel saying “the media hates Trump!”

    I guess you do have to have a unique take on things.

    1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

      1. How fucking clever. Gets cleverer every millionth repetition.

        1. Tony reduced to sobbing yet again.

          1. “Tony reduced to sobbing yet again.”
            Shame on you, Philadelphia Collins!
            Have you no shame, sir?
            Have you no shame?

    2. Tony|7.12.17 @ 12:20PM|#
      “The entire country is talking about Don Jr.,”

      That would be CNN and partners, and they’re saying he’s a big poppyhead. Pretty much the same pile of steaming shit you’re been posting since YOU LOST, loser.
      Fuck off.

  13. “Oh, this thread could have some interesting comments.”

    *clicks*

    GAHHHHHHHH

  14. And that’s why we love him!

  15. I like Stossel, but he’s falling for the same fallacies that pretty much everyone does. “The Media” is not one homogeneous entity, with a single mind and consciousness. In critiquing the media, he cherry picks the worst examples of a huge and disparate group of people to prove his point. Then once he’s done cherry picking, he attributes the arguments of said examples to the group as a whole. The same direction is taken when people use Glenn Beck or Ron Paul to label libertarians as nuts or racists (respectively). The same fallacies are used against progressives and conservatives too. How often does some troglodyte conservative’s stupid misogynist comment get used to tar the entire movement? Or some SJW on campus is used to paint the entire left with one broad stroke? Even here at Reason, based upon the articles, every cop is a dog killing, jack booted thug.
    I’m not saying that there isn’t some truth to these generalizations?.but I would hope that some here would recognize that we too are being manipulated.

    1. “a huge and disparate group of people”

      Oh, please. Yes, there is some variation in the mainstream media. There was some variation in the student population of Yale circa 1920. Just not much. There are honorable exceptions, but for the most part the mainstream media varies between Strongly Left, through Far Left with a cherry on top, to Way Far Out Left and Receiving Radio Venus on Their Bridgework.

      1. but I agree with his point that generalizing groups is dangerous and wrong, not everyone in a given group is guilty of whatever crimes their group is accused of.

      2. “The left” (and “The Right” and “libertarians”) is also a large and disparate group of individuals. Yes, they by and large slant to the left. But that doesn’t mean they all do the same things.

        It’s just a lazy way of thinking and talking about things. And we all do it sometimes. But it’s worth pointing out from time to time.

    2. thank you for that, I’ve thought the same thing a million times.

  16. All of this presumes that the point of these attacks on Trump is to discredit and contain Trump. What if it isn’t? The Democrat Establishment used ethically questionable tricks to ensure that they chosen Insider (Hillary Clinton) got nominated, and then she lost the general election TO DONALD TRUMP. Hell, if the evidence of vote fraud that is slowly emerging tells us anything, there’s a decent chance that the “Hillary Won the Popular Vote” meme is bullshit, too. So, the Party Insiders cast aside a putative Outsider to secure the nomination of an Insider…who got cunt-punted by the public. Let the Great Unwashed focus on anything other than “Trump is awful, Trump eats roast babies, Trump rapes virgin Feminists” and similar mush, and the Democrat Establishment might just possibly be asked to explain themselves to their base……

    1. “there’s a decent chance that the “Hillary Won the Popular Vote” meme is bullshit, too.”

      Care to place a bet that any governmental agency or investigatory commission will conclude that?

  17. great stuff, John. spot on.

  18. He emailed back, “That wasn’t a reference to murder (but) to executive authority using tax code to squelch free-speech.”

    Something that no previous president has done. Ever. /sarc

    1. And that president was forced to resign.

  19. Interesting take on the problem presented by a president who lies constantly, changes his stories more often than most people change their underwear and refuses to be bound by any rules or behaviors that don’t aggrandize himself or profit his family. There was nothing made-up about the minority president’s ridiculous tweet showing him beating up a journalist. The stories about who is up and down in a WH that is playing by the rules of a demented Darwinian circus, were generated within that WH. Are the media supposed to ignore leaks simply because the man in charge is a volatile idiot who changes his mind by the minute- celebrating the House healthcare bill with a Rose Garden party and then labelling it mean? It is all very well to claim that the best way to stop the Donald is to limit the power of the presidency but with the GOP controlling both houses of Congress and with the party needing, at least, token support for their agenda from the tainted man in the WH, it is very unlikely to happen. Until some remarkable revelation either gets him impeached or turns the GOP totally against him, the best safeguard we have is the media, reporting what is going on-rumors and all.

    1. The problem with reversing the usurpation of Congress by the executive is not party, but cowardice. But let’s not give up as easily as you suggest.

  20. Interesting take on the problem presented by a president who lies constantly, changes his stories more often than most people change their underwear and refuses to be bound by any rules or behaviors that don’t aggrandize himself or profit his family. There was nothing made-up about the minority president’s ridiculous tweet showing him beating up a journalist. The stories about who is up and down in a WH that is playing by the rules of a demented Darwinian circus, were generated within that WH. Are the media supposed to ignore leaks simply because the man in charge is a volatile idiot who changes his mind by the minute- celebrating the House healthcare bill with a Rose Garden party and then labelling it mean? It is all very well to claim that the best way to stop the Donald is to limit the power of the presidency but with the GOP controlling both houses of Congress and with the party needing, at least, token support for their agenda from the tainted man in the WH, it is very unlikely to happen. Until some remarkable revelation either gets him impeached or turns the GOP totally against him, the best safeguard we have is the media, reporting what is going on-rumors and all.

    1. “the minority president’s”

      Hey, loser, you LOST.

      1. You probably have lost, too. You just don’t know it yet.

    2. “Interesting take on the problem presented by a president who lies constantly, changes his stories more often than most people change their underwear and refuses to be bound by any rules or behaviors that don’t aggrandize himself or profit his family.”

      For a minute i thought you were going to refer to Bill Clinton

  21. There are legitimate reasons to worry about what Trump might do. I worry that he’ll start a trade war. Or a shooting war. There’s plenty to worry about.

    So what if he starts a trade war? It takes two or more to engage in such a thing. No one wins, which means no one loses. The difference between EU subsidies and US tariffs, is the US collects the subsidy on this side of the pond.

    Or a shooting war? George H.W. Bush(Iraq), Buba Clinton(Iraq, Serbia), Dubya(Iraq, Afghanistan), and Obama’s proxies in Ukraine, Libya, Syria.

    Seems to be a trend here.

    1. Not true that no one loses in a trade war. Both sides lose economically, although certain special interests and politicians on both sides generally win, but at the expense of consumers. If the players are smart, they keep the losses hidden well enough, but they are real.

  22. “…why make things up?”
    Because the media has gone totally bat-shit crazy, and can’t differentiate between their delusional fantasies and the reality before them.

  23. Rutenberg goes on to ask how we can feel good about Independence Day and press freedom “when the president lashes out at The Washington Post by making a veiled threat against the business interests of its owner, Jeff Bezos, suggesting that his other company, Amazon, is a tax avoider.

    It’s OK for Clinton, Obama, Sanders, and Warren to foam at the mouth about “tax avoiders”, but heaven forbid Trump does it!

  24. Has Trump unleashed the FBI and Justice department to harass, intimidate, and prosecute reporters?

    Seems to me the complainers just have their undies in a bundle. It’s a twitter war for God’s sake, nobody’s had to hire a lawyer to defend themselves against the nearly bottomless pockets of the gummint.

    1. Obama did, so it is not unreasonable to expect Trump could.

  25. Trump’s not against a Free Press, he’s just making it an ACCOUNTABLE Free Press. And since the Free Press has a decidedly Liberal bias, and since Liberals detest accountability, you have the current conflict, where the Free Press is crying when its Liberal bias and its propaganda are exposed.

  26. “The Federalist’s Jordyn Pair points out that the press repeatedly told us that a dozen Trump administration members were about to be fired.”

    Citations? I turned up nothing but reported rumors/leaks, not assertions. The closest thing I found was Trump’s own words in an interview on Fox with Jeanine Pirro.

    “In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Jeanine Pirro, Trump ?played up that go-it-alone approach, floating the idea he should end the daily White House press briefings for reporters? and take care of it himself.?

    “Unless I have them every two weeks and do it myself, we won’t have them. I think it’s a good idea,” he told Pirro on her show “Justice with Judge Jeanine” that aired Saturday.”

    And if Stossel doesn’t think that Trump’s allusions to Bezos’ tax returns doesn’t have a chilling effect on the press, he doesn’t know as much about business as I thought.

  27. What’s the F stand for? Frankenstein.. Frankfurter…. Francois… Freakingawesome…. Forkn’….

    1. OH also thanks for another great article Stossel, but we all know it’s really the power of the stache

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