You say, “it depends how you see it, it’s all a matter of perspective.” If you open any of today’s British or American newspapers you will find that Trump’s “extraordinary” or “combative” press conference last night (16 February) was dominated by his reiterated conviction that the media is “dishonest”, putting out fake news and doing a “disservice” to the American people. "The leaks are absolutely real, the news is fake, because so much of the news is fake," Trump said. The reality was that Trump was being himself, desperately defending his presidency by attacking the media, denying his team’s connections to Russia and confidently “threatening us” by saying “We’re just getting started.”
But, if you turn to Trump-aligned-propaganda machine-Breitbart network, then you come across an “alternative” story that is as “deplorable” as it is tragic. Under their official Breitbart store—because that’s the first thing you notice when you land on their website—since nothing sells better than some “cool”, alt-right T-shirt with the message “Hate America? Then get the hell out. We’ll help you move. Show Leftists the door with this kick ass design,” you find the opposite. Breitbart’s headline story doesn’t attack Trump’s ridiculous media accusations or his insistence that his election campaign had no connections to Moscow, but, lo and behold, CNN and its president, Jeff Zucker for being antagonistic towards Trump. The CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta who came face to face with Trump at Thursday’s press conference, annoyed the president just enough to prompt him to “downgrade” CNN from fake news to “very fake news.” Child’s play (Remember Chucky?), but still dangerous.
Chaotic press conference
But his press conference was like entering inside the mind of a … "pretty good reporter", as Trump called himself during the session. He also said he could “handle a bad story better than anybody,” as long as it was true. But, truth be told, his incoherent news conference was contradictory and many reporters wondered how it was possible that leaks were real and the news is fake. He replied: “The reporting is fake. The public read newspapers, they see television. They don’t know if it is true or false because they are not involved. But I am involved, so I know when you're telling the truth and when you’re not.”
His inelegant communication with reporters was punctuated by his instructions to them to be “quiet, quiet, quiet” and ordering one journalist to sit down after he asked him whether his administration was encouraging antisemitism with Bannon’s white nationalist agenda. He simply stated the obvious that, “Number one, I am the least antisemitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person.” Simple as that. The sheer performance of the act of telling is the new Trumpian truth. No reason to bother about evidence, or reading reports, simply trust in Trump.
Not only the CNN reporter, but also the BBC reporter had to be disciplined by Trump who accused him: “Here’s another beauty,” Trump said. “It’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair. Yea, sure, just like CNN.” He noted that, "I watch CNN, there is so much anger and hatred, I don’t watch it anymore.”
He said that “The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.” This was coupled with his statement that “Russia was a ruse”: “You know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it.”
Unlike unbiased reporters from CNN and BBC, the conservative Fox News’ reporters were praised by Trump as “very honourable people.”
A fine-tuned machine
His anti-media tirade was his way to tell us not to believe the truth and all the real news about how bad his presidency is going. Don’t believe the newspapers reporting all these “stories of chaos, chaos” but have faith in me. What’s happening, “it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my cabinet approved.” He claimed that his administration achieved more in a short period of time than any previous US president, pointing out that he “inherited a mess” at home and abroad. There’s been “incredible progress” and “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we have done.” He also went as far as to complain that all these fake stories of his team’s contacts with Russia are ruining his relations to Putin: “Putin probably assumes that he can’t make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal.”
But Trump’s administration has been having a bad time this week, despite Trump’s attempts to show a made-up, powdered and lip-glossed façade especially after Michael Flynn was forced to resign and Robert Harward, rather embarrassingly, refused to replace him. Trump was resolved that Flynn “was doing his job” and he was a “fine person.” But, soon no more excuses would be easily swallowed even from the most gullible of Trump’s supporters. Trump’s “fine-tuned machine” is just a discordant broken record that still screeches no matter how many times you play it. Even the memes triggered by his “fine-tuned machine” description were unmistakably about things exploding, breaking down or catching fire…