Joe Klein calls Trump “news manipulator in chief”

This week’s Joe Klein Time Magazine article argues that Russian meddling in the U.S. was a bigger story than Trump’s vile comments about groping groupies but that the media gave the latter more oxygen.1 Fair enough. I’m working on a post about the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian meddling…

I want to respond to his “larger lesson.” He also points out the “larger lesson here for the media, going forward” – that Trump’s tweets and outrageous(ly funny) comments manipulate the media. He says:

Trump hasn’t actually done anything yet, and his opponents are acting as if the sky has fallen. They are playing into his hands: if you begin with constant outrage, there’s no place to go when something truly outrageous happens. And what if this turns out to be a popular presidency?

He concludes that “nothing is unthinkable anymore.”

That is true. Trump’s candidacy was unthinkable to some. It felt impossible but became actual. The same for his nomination, and his victory. So why shouldn’t his success (by right-wing and/or left-wing standards) be impossible but actual?

Klein couches his article in snarl worlds like “manipulator” where a sympathetic writer might have said “Trump can’t be taken in by the media manipulators.” Nevertheless, despite his obvious disdain and disbelief, Klein inadvertently admits the unthinkable: That Trump might actually do an objectively good job.

  1. Time Magazine, December 26, 2016-January 2, 2017, page 34.