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January 2017

dinnerlunch

sowell

The jackals are losing badly

Law professor and superstar blogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com explains why dim-bulb White House reporters attacking Trump are doomed to failure:

“Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait. They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control — but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control.

“As Richard Fernandez writes on Facebook, they think he’s dumb because they think he has lousy taste, but there are a lot of scarily competent guys out there in the world who like white and gold furniture. And, I should note, Trump has more media experience than probably 99% of the people covering him. …

“The counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging. The counter-move to bolster its own trustworthiness is by acting more neutral and sober, and by being more trustworthy. If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.”

Some would argue that President Trump and his staff eventually will overplay their hand. But even that won’t sway public opinion because the jackal pack has shown itself incapable of any objectivity. It takes time for credibility to erode and even more time to rebuild it. Major news outlets will be tarnished for a generation or longer. Whether they will survive in their present form is a subject for another day.

I hold no romanticized view of the Fourth Estate and in fact will be entertained as they gnaw at limbs after blundering into trap after trap set by Trump’s people. As Professor Reynolds concludes: “If we had a better press, we’d be much better off as a nation. But we don’t.”

A final note: Professor Reynolds expanded his thoughts into a USA Today column: http://tinyurl.com/jyvmre5

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