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Saturday, December 30, 2017

A president unafraid of the press

President Trump gave Mike Schmidt of the New York Times an impromptu half-hour interview on Trump's golf course.

The press went wild. People who last week bitched about no year-end press conference showed open  hostility to the president talking to a reporter unguarded by his flacks.

The reaction tells you everything about the power of the press.

The power of the press is gone. A Republican president no longer is afraid of the press. In fact, Trump is the most accessible president in my lifetime -- because he really doesn't care what they write. Oh he tweets. It entertains his troops and has the press chasing its tail.

After a couple years of this, I think the press has caught on to those tweets, but they keep chasing that tail because dumping on Trump is all they have left. They bray as they slowly sink into that last goodbye.

The power of the Trump is known -- and it extends far beyond his constitutional powers as chief executive of the greatest land of all.

He showed it yesterday by tweeting, "Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests"

In one tweet, President Trump forced the media to report protests that the media wanted to ignore.

Those protests likely will fail without pressure from Arab and Muslim governments. Nevertheless, it is news.

The American news media is fixated on Trump. No one wants to risk ratings or clicks by talking about anyone else. There also is a strange desire to be hated by Trump. It is some sort of stamp of approval in the media.

Eminem is unhappy that Trump ignores his taunts.

Which brings us back to the Schmidt interview with the president.

The Times was, rightly, proud of its scoop. It placed a story about this exclusive outside its online firewall, "Our Reporter Mike Schmidt on His Golf Club Interview With President Trump."
Until Thursday, my time in Florida had been quiet. But that afternoon, I went to Mr. Trump’s golf club with his longtime confidant Christopher Ruddy, who had invited me for lunch. We were seated at a table next to the president and a few minutes into our meal, Mr. Ruddy, who runs the conservative website and television channel Newsmax, went over to say hello to Mr. Trump. The president appeared excited to see Mr. Ruddy, who often goes on cable television to defend him.
I stood behind Mr. Ruddy, who told the president that Mike Schmidt from The New York Times was with him. As I made eye contact with the president, he appeared confused about who I was and why I was there. I walked up, shook his hand and reminded him that I had interviewed him in July in the Oval Office along with two of my colleagues, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker. He said he remembered me and, despite the fact that we’re “the failing New York Times,” he thought we had treated him fairly.
So a Trump friend arranged the meeting.

Trump and the Times reporter talked. There is no way it could be called a softball interview.
In the interview, the president did make news. He contradicted members of his own party, saying he believes the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will treat him fairly. He said for the first time explicitly that he had gone soft on trade with China in the hopes that Beijing would help put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program. And he said that he never thought Roy Moore would win the Senate race in Alabama and that he had endorsed Mr. Moore only out of obligation.
But the press did try to make it sound like a softball interview.

From the Washington Examiner:
Media and political professionals are criticizing a new interview the New York Times conducted with President Trump, complaining that Trump wasn't challenged enough.
The Times published its 30-minute, impromptu interview from West Palm Beach, Fla., where the president has been staying over the holidays, on Thursday night.
Reaction on social media by others in the news business was swift.
"I’m sorry but given how few interviews Trump does this was a complete waste of 30 minutes," Tim Miller, a former communications aide to Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, said on Twitter. "Reads like they were afraid to challenge any of his absurd statements for fear he’d walk off."
The interview was such a waste that it yielded a dozen different story lines for reporters in the worst week for reporters. Trump knows how to feed the trolls.

The press made personal attacks on the president. Some were doozies.

Charles Pierce of Esquire wrote:
Over the past 30 years, I’ve seen my father and all of his siblings slide into the shadows and fog of Alzheimer’s Disease. (the president's father developed Alzheimer's in his 80s.) In 1984, Ronald Reagan debated Walter Mondale in Louisville and plainly had no idea where he was. (Would that someone on the panel had asked him. He’d have been stumped.) Not long afterwards, I was interviewing a prominent Alzheimer’s researcher for a book I was doing, and he said, “I saw the look on his face that I see every day in my clinic.” In the transcript of this interview, I hear in the president*’s words my late aunt’s story about how we all walked home from church in the snow one Christmas morning, an event I don’t recall, but that she remembered so vividly that she told the story every time I saw her for the last three years of her life.
I've seen Alzheimer's patients too. I think Pierce needs to bring it down a few notches.

Ezra Klein of Vox went with that Democratic Party chestnut about Trump being an authoritarian. His headline said that: "Incoherent, authoritarian, uninformed: Trump’s New York Times interview is a scary read."

He cited as proof Trump's statement, "I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department."

Klein wrote:
Read Trump’s phrasing carefully: “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” It’s a statement that speaks both to Trump’s yearning for authoritarian power and his misunderstanding of the system in which he actually operates.
The Constitution makes the president the chief executive. The Department of Justice is not an independent agency but rather subservient to the president.

Other journalists fact-checked the president's off-the-cuff remarks.

The Toronto Star said: "Donald Trump made 25 false claims in his latest New York Times interview."

The Washington Post said: "In a 30-minute interview, President Trump made 24 false or misleading claims."

The Times said: "10 Falsehoods From Trump's Interview With The Times."

At least two of them are lying. And all three have a low-threshold for calling a Trump statement a lie.

From the Post:
Trump: “Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion. . . . I saw Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion.”
Trump appears to be referring to an interview with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She did not flatly say there was no collusion and instead was more nuanced. Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Nov. 5 whether she had “seen any evidence that this dirt, these emails, were ever given to the Trump campaign,” she replied: “Not so far.” Tapper than asked: “Have you seen any communications that suggested that the Trump campaign wanted them to release them through a different means?” She answered: “I have not.”
More nuanced?


After more than a year of million-dollar investigations there is not one scintilla of evidence of collusion.

Which is why Trump keeps talking about it, because the Russian story makes the press look like desperate partisans rather than competent referees.

But what else do they have?

The press gambled all its credibility on Hillary last year.

Now they have borrowed money to buy lottery tickets hoping to win it back.

Wise people would have gone back to the basics last year, played it straight, and given Donald Trump a chance.

Reading these accounts -- these desperate attempts to revive an industry -- saddens me. It's not what was that is the tragedy; it is what might have been.


Please enjoy my two books about the press and how it missed the rise of Donald Trump.

The first was "Trump the Press," which covered his nomination.

The second was "Trump the Establishment," which covered his election.

To order autographed copies, write

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As always, Make America Great Again.


  1. "... complaining that Trump wasn't challenged enough." Attacking Trump ist MANDATORY!!11!!
    No zzzzofffftbalss!!
    " Reading these accounts -- these desperate attempts to revive an industry -- saddens me.It's not what was that is the tragedy; it is what might have been." And still could be, but I figure the possibility to be one in a million.
    At best. I figure the probability is Zero, zip, zilch, nada.

    1. I hope they all die.
      Slowly, painfully, in agony, twisting in the wind.
      Traitors deserve it.

      Invest in popcorn futures.

  2. Mr. Schmidt stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and all the rest of the MSM is green-eyed with jealousy. Envy is one of the seven deadly sins, isn't it? And giving this interview to a NYT reporter? Priceless! - Elric

  3. The Fake News Media gave up its credibility during the Obungler years when they worshiped the Chocolate Jesus. Then they doubled down with Felonia von Pantsuit. - GOC

  4. The same people who wouldn't vote for Trump in a million years are still insisting that he conform to their idea of "presidential" behavior.

  5. The press are such shills for Obama that they won't even report on the Iranian protests:

  6. The crime will be "conspiracy" not "collusion". Surely you realize that a conspiracy of hacking emails from the DNC happened. So much whining about the dossier and it turns our a drunk Papadopoulos was bragging to Aussies about email from the Russians TWO MONTHS before wikileaks published. This is going to be fun.

    1. Byron York pours some water on this theory. Sorry to interrupt your wet dream.

  7. I don't particularly care for snakes, and a rattler would get an enormous birth from me. I am no snake handler, nor do I want to be.
    Snake handlers understand snakes. They know how to control them, manipulate them, and understand how they think. When a snake handler wants to put on a show, he can get the snakes to do what he wants because he knows how to stimulate them to actions. The snakes aren't doing the show because they are suddenly his friends.
    President Trump is a snake wrangler of the media snakes. He knows how they think, what makes them react.
    What President Trump is doing with the media is essentially no different than the snake wrangler, except maybe the rattle snakes are smarter than the media ones.

  8. The complaint that the questions weren't tough enough gave me the laugh of the week. In 8 years Obama never got a tough question from the reporters. Every interview was softballs.

  9. These media types are beginning to sound like the dementia-laden Arab, Helen Thomas (who I believe to be Yassar Arafat or his twin) and the tipsy and most likely passionately aroused (when in the room with any liberal man or terrorist) Maureen Dowd.