Monday, August 19, 2019


There's a lot of talk out there about a possible recession. As Maggie Haberman reports, the president thinks it's all a plot to hurt him. Among other alleged enemies, he singles out the media:
President Trump, confronting perhaps the most ominous economic signs of his time in office, has unleashed what is by now a familiar response: lashing out at what he believes is a conspiracy of forces arrayed against him.

He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week.
Which is odd, because just yesterday Trump predicted that Haberman's paper would ultimately endorse him:

And that's not a new idea. He's said on several occasions that he'll receive a lot of mainstream-media endorsements in 2020, including from news outlets that don't endorse candidates. Here's a Hill story from last year:
President Trump on Wednesday predicted that news organizations that he routinely attacks as "fake news" would endorse him in the future, saying that they would go out of business if he weren't in office.

"The [New York] Times, I think they’re going to endorse me," he said at a news conference in New York. "I think that ABC, I think — well Fox, I like Fox, I really do."

"But I think ABC, CBS, NBC, The Times, they’re all going to endorse me," he added. "Because if they don’t they’re going out of business. Can you imagine if you didn’t have me?”

TV networks do not issue political endorsements, and the Times endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, as did a majority of the 100 largest American newspapers.
So the mainstream media is motivated by overwhelming anti-Trump bias -- except when it's motivated by naked self-interest, which results in pro-Trump bias. Got it.

Trump could resolve this apparent contradiction by arguing that the media knows he's on track to win by a landslide (even though that's clearly not the case) and that all the attacks on him are just an effort to keep the contest interesting. Or, y'know, he could just shut up and respond to criticism and bad news like an adult. But the GOP base loves braggadocio, and also loves self-pity expressed as hostility (a Republican fan favorite ever since Nixon), so the contradictions will continue.

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