Broadcast and Cable news outlets can breathe easier now that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has said the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he heads, will not be investigating them, as President Donald Trump urged in one of his many tweets. But this president continues to redefine what being the “leader of the free world” means, including by trying to leverage his attacks into a commercial come-on for profit.
Burr did say some outlets would likely have egg on their faces when the final report is issued, but if the report is fair, then the egg is too.
That is very different from a committee investigating the news media at the behest of an increasingly belligerent president apparently stung by criticisms of everything from his approach to immigration and taxes to the failure of health care legislation and the government response to recent hurricanes, particularly those hitting U.S. territories offshore.
Burr’s words don’t, however, exempt the media from continued intimidation and insults made by this president, who has put new meaning into the phrase “bully pulpit.” Last week he even threatened the broadcast licenses of NBC stations (or seemed to; it is hard to divine tweeted policy) over a story that got his goat.
That brought bipartisan condemnation, as it should.
The fundraising team for president and arguably businessman-in-chief Trump is even using the White House attacks on the news media to sell hats, t-shirts, glassware and even a “Fight the Fake News” bumper sticker.
In what it was billing as a Columbus Day sale last week, the Trump-Pence campaign committee — in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, which is getting down in mud with the re-election team — was offering 25% off merchandise with this enticement: “The media and the Left have been working overtime to undermine our history. That’s why we wanted to have a HUGE celebration this Columbus Day — to show them we’re not going to let them get away with it.”
The campaign regularly uses the media as a spur to generate contributions, suggesting, as has the president, that the mainstream media are liars in league with Democrats to undermine the administration (read: the U.S.).
Also among the ways Trump followers can show the media and left who is boss is by buying official inauguration golf ball green repairers, dog leashes, baby outfits and commemorative medallions.
Perhaps the president’s new motto should be “Nobody Beats the Prez.”
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