But as a metaphor, it sometimes works.
Megyn Kelly is the canary in the media mine.
Lauded when she fearlessly confronted Donald Trump about all those terrible things he said about Rosie O'Donnell, she was the toast of the media.
A year ago, Newsweek breathlessly reported:
Megyn Kelly was already a popular Fox News host before the 2016 election cycle began last summer, but she could never have predicted the level to which her profile would ascend after posing one simple question to Donald Trump during the first Republican debate in August. Now, six months and countless Trump tweets later, Kelly has landed a book deal with HarperCollins that could be worth up to $11 million.
"It's been a surreal six months, because we never anticipated that anybody would react to the questions in that particular way," Kelly told Jimmy Fallon Thursday night on The Tonight Show. "You just have to keep your head down, put your shoulders back and forge forward."A year later, she is toast. He won. She didn't.
From Newsweek now:
For Megyn Kelly, at a price one person familiar with the negotiations put at $17 million-$18 million (practically speaking it would be hard for NBC to let anyone exceed Today show star Matt Lauer’s recent raise to $20 million), there was a prospective daytime show, with few models of success; a Sunday evening show, typically a loss leader; and a possible move for the hard-news Kelly into the soft hour of Today’ s 9 a.m. hour. Some observers see her inevitable destination as MSNBC—from the top-rated news network to the lowest.
For others though, there is another path and a clear message for Savannah Guthrie, the Today show’s female star: Watch out.MSNBC already hired Greta Van Susteren. Maybe they could squeeze Kelly in between Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams.
Nevertheless, she is set for life financially.
However, the rest of the media is not. Like Kelly, they went all in against Trump. He won. Steve Bannon, Trump's adviser, told the New York Times:
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”Chuck Todd now regrets being With Her.
From the Washington Times:
NBC’s Chuck Todd confessed that he and others in the mainstream news media played down just how despised Hillary Clinton was in the heartland due to the fear of appearing “sexist.”
What’s more, he admitted, the mainstream media failed to “tell the stories of all Americans.”
“Where I think political correctness got in the way of what we all knew as reporters and didn’t fully deliver was how hated the Clintons were in the heartland,” the “Meet the Press” host admitted Thursday to former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer in a interview for the “1947” podcast.
“And I think it was a fear of, ‘Oh, is it going to look like it’s sexist, anti-woman if we say that?’” he added, pointing out that on the hustings he saw numerous “Hillary for Prison” signs adorning the front yards of rural America.
“I think we underplayed it a little bit out of political correctness fears,” Mr. Todd said. “No member of the press corps wants to look like they’re singling out a group and making a group feel bad, right, whatever that [group] is.
“If we sort of were straight-up honest and blunt about hey do we understand the level of hatred that’s out there and you know, all the Hillary for Prison signs that are out there, we certainly would have at least made the viewer know, hey, you know, she’s not well-liked in some places in this country in ways that’s times 10 when it comes to Trump,” he said.Michael Wolff of Newsweek tried to explain in,"Why the Media Keeps Losing to Donald Trump":
The media’s holy grail is, as it’s been for much of the campaign, about what will stick. Of the myriad likely damaging possibilities, which one will be so prima facie damaging (pay no attention to the many instances that many people already thought were, or would be) or so shocking and insulting to the body politic that it will be the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of Trump? Nothing counts but delivering a mortal wound, so everything is delivered as though it is a mortal wound.
The Trump people recognize this and, it would seem, even encourage it. A key difference between the Trump and Nixon administrations is the relative lack of paranoia in this new White House. There is contempt but not paranoia (that may, of course, come). The Trump strategy, conscious or not, is to invite overreaction—to program for it. Kellyanne Conway, with effortless smile, is more official media tormentor than simple spokesperson. The Trump team’s overt threats against the media—which is quite easy to placate if, in fact, you want to placate it—reliably serve to stoke several news cycles of the media’s breast-beating and self-serving virtue, never a pleasant sight.
Of course, the media’s inability to damage Trump leads it to try all the more. The list of attempts is long: the dossier, the tax returns, emoluments, conflicts of interest, etc. The weight of all this, the media clearly believes, ultimately brings him down. In turn, the more stuff that is piled on, the Trump team believes, the more it is all diminished.I said he tried to explain.
Wolff cannot bring himself to admit that it is wrong for all of the media to gang up on one candidate.
George Wallace received fairer treatment in his 1968 campaign.
The penalty for failure in regicide is death itself.
The penalty for failure in prezicide is a little less clear.
The Washington Post flourishes with its hourly dose of Trumphobia. (Jennifer Rubin: "Trump's authoritarian tendencies are revealed once again." The poor woman needs a dictionary and rest. Plenty of rest.) Trump has promised to drain the swamp, and the newspaper's readership is nothing but swamp critters.
But others see the futility of continuing to sacrifice credibility and customers at the altar of conformity. Even Vox has its limits:
A viral Washington Post story about State Department resignations is very misleadingFor Trump's part, he is smiling, tweeting, doing the job of being president, and having the time of his life.
If he were Hitler, reporters would be hauled off to concentration camps.
If he were Obama, they might face the IRS.
But Trump has a better way of getting even. He lives his life in the White House to its fullest.
His approval rate may be in the 40s, but theirs is in the teens.
MJJA: Make Journalism Journalism Again.
Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.
It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."
For an autographed copy, email me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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