It’s seems as though September 2015 was about a century ago. It was back then that I wondered aloud whether America was ready for a president who uses terms like “perv” and “sleazebag”. Here was my conclusion:
Is his [Donald Trump’s] in-your-face approach enough to win him the election, much less the GOP nomination? It’s hard to say, but clearly it won’t be viewed uniformly as a deficit.
That … er — “candid” side of Trump, which largely disappeared in the waning weeks of the election, reportedly emerged again yesterday during a much-publicized media summit at Trump Tower. From the New York Post:
“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.
“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source added.
A second source confirmed the fireworks.
“The meeting took place in a big boardroom and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks,” the other source said.
“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room, calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said.
There’s a lot to unpack there, so let’s start with CNN. As has been documented in these pages, CNN’s conduct during this election has been as inexcusably biased as it was during the 2008 and 2012 elections, but in the opposite direction. Whereas the network played down the skeletons rattling in Barack Obama’s closet in 2008 and his scandals in 2012, it stooped to new unprecedented lows to ensure a victory for Hillary Clinton in this most recent election cycle. There is evidence that CNN colluded with the DNC on debate questions and creatively edited questionable comments made by candidate Clinton.
There is little doubt in my mind that CNN and its fellow mainstream media co-conspirators have earned a comeuppance. But was this the time, the place — and perhaps most importantly — the manner in which that dressing-down should have occurred? It sure seems ill-advised, but not because the media will now double down on its attacks on Trump — that was already in the cards — but because this sort of tantrum is non-presidential. Americans should be deeply concerned about this.
Granted, we are getting one side (the media’s) of what went down, and it’s worth noting that Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway is quoted as having said the gathering went well.
A second meeting, this one with New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, is scheduled for today. (Yes, you may have read that Trump canceled, but as of seven minutes ago, the meeting is back on.) It will be instructive to see how this plays out … and which Donald Trump shows up for it.