Tuesday, April 03, 2018


I keep thinking about this passage from Gabriel Sherman's post about President Trump's war with Jeff Bezos:
Even Trump’s allies acknowledge that much of what’s fueling Trump’s rage toward Amazon is that Amazon C.E.O. Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, sources said. “Trump doesn’t like The New York Times, but he reveres it because it’s his hometown paper. The Washington Post, he has zero respect for,” the Republican close to the White House said.
You know what else is a hometown paper for Trump? The Wall Street Journal. Have you noticed that Trump doesn't seem to have an opinion about the Journal one way or another?

It may be that Trump can't get a bead on the Journal, where the traditionally hard-right editorial page is now very pro-Trump, while the news section sometimes runs stories critical of Trump and his circle. Too complicated! (Currently the Journal is reporting on Roger Stone's claim that he met with Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign.)

But it's the Journal! It was the paper of record for business when Trump was building a career as a businessman. He still cares about impressing The New York Times because he always did, but why has he never seemed to care as much about impressing the Journal?

I think it's for the obvious reason that he doesn't want to be admired for his work so much as he wants to be liked -- liked on a massive scale. In New York, the Times has long been the main arbiter of what upscale people like and dislike. Trump wants the Times to say he's likable the same way, in his heyday, he wanted the gossip columns of the New York Post and the Daily News to portray him as a fascinating figure and a sex god.

Now the upscale arbiter of likability in his hometown is The Washington Post -- and he can't win it over. The Post is what Axios's Jonathan Swan says the Times has always been for Trump -- "the girl he can’t get."

So he's lashing out, just as he's lashing out at what he (for some reason) thinks is the national arbiter of likability, CNN. The Journal? It doesn't operate on that celebrity level, so he doesn't care.

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