Ed.: 071117 – Words: 1394 – Audio: 11:10
There are few people in this world that irk me to this level, but each time I listen to Kellyanne Conway speak it’s like listening to fingernails on a blackboard. I don’t even feel that way about the President. I dislike the President being president. I don’t truly hate the guy; as I’ve posted before.. it wasn’t his fault he got elected. But Kellyanne… ugh. To me she’s at bitch level.
Case in point.. I had to fill in at work this morning for someone who didn’t show up.. about 5am Pacific. I flipped on Sirius to listen to CNN. Chris Cuomo, in his morning show, had just introduced Kellyanne Conway to answer some questions about recent events. What followed was one of those eyes-rolling OMG moments. Those two kept at it, without commercial interruption, for nearly 30 minutes straight. Of course Kellyanne had to bring the entire discussion into a bash about CNN and the media and Cuomo did a pretty good job defending press-dom and CNN. But the content was largely about Kellyanne doing that oh-so-typical right wing conservative lament about the so-called good news not reaching the public. Then there’s always that list spewed out of Trump’s accomplishments that need public praise.
Now, here’s the thing about accomplishments. When Kellyanne and conservatives do that they approach it as Trump coming good on his campaign promises.. and how each accomplishment is supposed to change America… which you can almost sense lurking just under the surface, each accomplishment is simply undoing an Obama accomplishment. The idea is, as we all know, that the making ‘America great again’ is the presumption that Obama (with Hillary following behind) has made it bad… and if Americans are bemoaning their sorry lot in life because of changing economic conditions it’s Obama and Clinton’s fault. Now, we all acknowledge that this administration spends way too much time blaming Obama and the Clintons rather than just governing. In fact, ‘blame’ is a major function of this administration.
But if you look at these accomplishments I believe only one.. the appointment of Gorsuch to the Bench.. was the only accomplishment that had some Congressional interaction success. Not one MAJOR accomplishment to date that has required Congressional support… healthcare, the wall, cutting taxes, re-build infrastructure, etc. has come to fruition. The bulk of his accomplishments have been decrees or rescinding decrees. Here’s the craziness. Check out this link to the White House site… it’s a chest-thumping list of all the actions Trump has taken in the first 100 days compared to other administrations. The idea that doing something in numbers more than another president is an indicator of Trump’s effectiveness. They totally disregard that it’s not the numbers that matter but the content of each action and how that affects the country.
This is from Politifact…
However, none of the bills Trump had signed at that point qualified as major pieces of legislation. None of the ones since are, either. They include, among others, two federal spending bills of the sort required periodically of every president and Congress to keep the government running; a bill overhauling government-employee travel policy; a bill about the United States competing for an international expo; a measure addressing Department of Homeland Security vehicle fleets; and the official naming of a federal courthouse in Tennessee.
Most presidents lament about the press’s propensity of preferring the “not-so-good-news” and I would have to agree with them. But this is one of the challenges to any administration. The press.. mainstream, print, broadcast, tabloid, gossip… whatever… is a business that caters to a specific public demographic for making money. The public doesn’t want to hear about a new stop light approved by the city council. They want to hear about the latest accident at that intersection and why it has taken the city council so long to approve the stop light. The press is often called the “fourth estate” in our system of checks & balances… the first three being the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The idea that freedom of the press is an unofficial guardian of democracy. Well, in theory it is, and in application it can serve to keep government honest, but that is not the goal. The goal is to make money through viewers, listeners, or readers. There is only one group that has any influence on the reporting of news… the public. “The press” is not a formal entity. So the reporting of what is news can vary widely depending on their customer demographic.
Given that, each and every administration is forced to understand the press, trying to accommodate their goals, anticipate what they might report on, and often trying to manipulate what’s released to the press, what’s not, and changing the “spin” in interpreting what’s good or bad. The Trump administration has not done that. There is some presumption that the press is obligated to report certain news in certain ways. No, not the case. Hence the often interpretation of the mainstream press, that is, the press that contains the most objective and credible reporting as that is a selling point for their customer demographic, as being too liberally biased in their reporting. The fact is… there are more liberally-minded customers/people in the country to cater to. But any administration has to take that into consideration.
Just watch the average White House press conference. At the start the press secretary provides what the president has done in the last week… what’s on the president’s schedule for the coming week, and the status of current legislation supported by the president. Then when it’s open for questions the reporters are asking about any current gossip, scandal, appointments, anything other than what the press secretary thought was important at the beginning. In this administration that’s what makes them perceive an only “bad news” press. The administration reacts to news coverage as if they were under siege and in constant combat.
My Idea for the White House
Congress has C-Span. The Executive should have its own cable network. To encourage viewers and attention to it, all press releases should be presented from that medium. Press conferences can be covered as well. The White House could also use the medium to present ideas and illustrate in greater detail the effects of current legislation… more the educating the public kinds of things (the charts and graphs stuff).. and getting the word out in a (hopefully) unbiased manner that supports executive actions. During slower news cycles programming can be more civics minded to support education, featured cabinet departments, bio’s on appointments… State Department travel warnings… governmental how to’s; where to go, what forms you might need… the ideas are endless actually. But it would certainly provide a medium for the White House to get their news out in a manner of their choosing.
But having a White House Cable Network would in no way infringe on the public’s right to a free press or the press’s ability to continue to challenge the government. Yes.. there’s a cost… especially if it’s a 24 hour network. But let’s assume at the start it’s off from midnight to 6am. But we have to decide the cost effectiveness in being able to deliver not only the message from the White House but also the message about how government operates. Honestly, I am all for anything that provides more information to the public in greater detail rather than just talking heads analysis that can easily become misconstrued into being factual news reporting (we have yet, in this country, failed to equate the concept of “fake facts” as being more like “false interpretation ”).
Well.. I have to presume that idea is not new in White House circles, especially with Trump’s history of TV showmanship. But it is an opportunity that would be well worth the money.
In the meantime.. we will continue with the new “abnormal” of this administration… and the fingernails-across-the-blackboard spokespersons.
Carry On, America.