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15 Feb, 2017 14:01

A disastrous combination: Trump’s ego and the media’s God complex

A disastrous combination: Trump’s ego and the media’s God complex

How big are Donald Trump’s hands? Does he wear a bathrobe? Did Melania once work for a high-end escort agency? Is it okay for Ivanka to do a photo-op in the Oval Office? Did Trump plagiarize a cake? Why is his tie so long?

American journalists are playing directly into Trump’s hands, and he’s playing right back into theirs. It’s a dysfunctional circus.

The over-the-top sensationalist coverage of all things Trump, which barely conceals the media’s open hatred, is reinforcing Trump’s belief that absolutely everything negative printed about him is “fake news,” and subsequently, his overreactions are providing more than enough fodder for the media to keep hammering away. They are feeding off each other in a vicious cycle that is becoming insufferable to watch playing out.

It became evident during the presidential campaign that much of the left-leaning American media is suffering from what can only be described as a severe God complex. Much of the corporate media exists in a self-congratulatory and impenetrable echo chamber.

Since his election, they’ve decided Trump is so uniquely evil that they simply can’t cover him like they would a ‘normal’ president. This is nothing more than an excuse to give themselves free rein to cover a man they hate without even a facade of fairness or balance. Their behavior is so off the wall that they force Trump critics, myself included, to defend him. How can they not see that this does nothing to advance their cause? In fact, it does exactly the opposite.

Journalists have called on their colleagues to boycott the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. They’ve suggested shunning others who disobey and attend anyway. They’ve proposed banning Trump advisors and spokespeople from going on TV. Basically, the American media has been having a massive tantrum since November 8.

The reason why is simple. They are still deeply shocked and probably actually emotionally shook by the loss they suffered on that day. Because yes, it was a loss to them. It made them feel irrelevant.

Well, apparently they’ve learned precisely nothing from the election because they’ve only doubled down on their clearly faulty strategy. When Trump’s administration calls the media the “opposition” party, the left gasps in horror and journalists react with such self-pity and self-righteousness that you’d think they were trying to do their jobs in North Korea.

Do they forget that roughly half of the country’s voters actually chose the guy they hate? If they have forgotten, they’d do well to remember, because acting like those people don’t exist is self-defeating. It means that when Trump really needs to be kept accountable — for something bigger than exaggerating his inauguration crowd size, for example — many Americans won’t care a toss. It may even already be too late for the media to claw any of its credibility back. While clearly, his first weeks have not been plain-sailing, Trump has still managed to use the media’s utter failure to his advantage. As long as the media remains in attack mode, Trump supporters will remain in defense mode.

A healthy, functioning, objective and fair media, or even something remotely close to this, should aim to instill a sense of trust in its audience; a sense that they are there to hold power to account at all times, not only when it’s convenient.

It’s an even bigger slap in the face to Trump supporters when they recall how the same media treated Barack Obama’s administration with kid gloves. Their sudden concern for the truth now that the president is a guy they don’t like is beyond hypocritical. The raging debate over how to handle the Trump administration’s lies and “alternative facts” would almost make you believe the Obama administration was wholeheartedly committed to the truth in every way.

What makes it all worse is Trump himself. He’s been having his own toddler tantrum since November 8, too. Trump has always been incapable of letting the little stuff go. Instead of letting things roll off his back, he tweets and rages about it all. He talks about the size of his hands. He attacks celebrities who don’t like him on Twitter. He watches Saturday Night Live just so he can rant about it the next day. He wants desperately to control the narrative about himself and he can’t. He has also done himself no favors by adopting an attitude of ‘if I say it, it must be true.'

When the media winds him up, he takes the bait every, single time. He doesn’t appear to have made the mental leap from celebrity to the Oval Office. Case in point: He uses the National Prayer Breakfast as an opportunity to get in a dig about The Apprentice’s ratings and pat himself on the back for having achieved better numbers than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Trump and the media are as bad as each other. The sad thing is, both journalists and Trump will be just fine. It’s the people he was elected to serve that might get lost in the mix.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.