wonderful theater

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wonderful theater

Post by t w on Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:42 pm


As press conferences go, President-elect Trump's first meeting with the news media was wonderful theater.

The ensemble production opened with press spokesman Sean Spicer's angry distortion of recent news reporting. Spicer falsely claimed that CNN aired "unsubstantiated" information possibly obtained by Russians on the President-elect. In fact, while CNN has reported the existence of a dossier of this kind, the network has carefully avoided describing its contents.

Next on the show was Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who handled the role of humble public servant as he and not Trump spoke of being "profoundly honored" to be elected. The production also included a lawyer who buried concerns about conflict of interest in a lengthy legalistic monologue.

Her main prop was a huge pile of papers that supposedly detailed how Trump will separate from his businesses. Finally there was the star himself, who performed as an artful dodger, spinning away from the most difficult questions posed and scoring points with attacks on the pharmaceutical industry and companies that ship jobs overseas.


The power of the press explains why, in the one moment when he lost control, Trump was addressing CNN with the false suggestion that the network disseminated contents of the secret document. As the network's Jim Acosta tried to ask a question, Trump called him rude and added, "I'm not going to give you a question," and added "You are fake news."

With his attack on CNN, Trump sought to plant the idea that he has enemies in the press, even if he did offer kinder words for journalists in general. Here, the key role of the hero's adversary, essential to any Trump drama, was forced upon Acosta and the network. As a powerful man who has long picked fights to get attention, Trump has used this technique over and over again. From New York's one-time Mayor Ed Koch to entertainer Rosie O'Donnell to Crooked Hillary, he has always needed a changing cast of enemies to keep things interesting.

At this week's performance he made Acosta into the bad guy. Soon it will be someone else, because the show must go on. Anyone who doubts this should consider that Trump used an old line from his reality TV days to close out the event. He noted that if his sons do a bad job running the Trump organization he'll return eight years from now and "I'll say, `You're fired.'" After the punchline was delivered he said, "Goodbye everybody, goodbye." It was a perfect exit.

t w

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