Steve Thomma, the veteran White House reporter and current executive director of the White House Correspondents’ Association, pointed out on Sunday evening that President Barack Obama’s White House actually started the trend of creating “real news” videos to go around the traditional media’s filters to get its message out more directly to voters
President Donald Trump’s critics erupted on Sunday after Kayleigh McEnany hosted a “real news” segment that Trump’s reelection campaign tweeted out. McEnany announced last week that she was leaving CNN, where she was one of two pro-Trump voices along with Jeffrey Lord, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) revealed on Monday that she would come on board as an official spokesperson.
The Trump campaign’s “real news” video did not try to trick voters into thinking it was an “objective” PBS-type newscast. It had Trump’s website address and the Trump/Pence campaign logo in the background, making it obvious, as even CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski pointed out, that it was not really that different from the types of videos most campaigns produce in the digital age. McEnany just pointed out some positive news from last week for Trump and the video was funded with campaign funds. Obama’s videos, in contrast, were slick productions funded with taxpayer dollars. Team Obama put out his “White House Week” videos even though the legacy media did all they could to put Obama in a favorable light and ask him leading questions like what “enchanted” Obama most about being in the White House.
It’s good to have someone like Thomma with some semblance of institutional knowledge, but it did not prevent the usual band of Trump haters from piling on McEnany.
Trend started with Obama team's weekly video recap of what it saw as the "news," called White House Week. https://t.co/fKzJG2ptBO
— Steve Thomma (@stevethomma) August 7, 2017
meh. I means, it's a poorly produced pro-Trump video, but it's not yet different from stuff campaigns/groups do. https://t.co/zwp45ALKfs
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) August 6, 2017
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 6, 2017
Mike McFaul, the Stanford professor and former President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to Russia who, along with others like Malcolm Nance and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), seems to have come down with a severe case of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” said McEnany’s video felt “eerily like so many state-owned channels I’ve watched in other countries.” CNN reporter Eugene Scott quoted McFaul in a tweet, which apparently compelled Thomma to jump in and teach the young reporters on Twitter some lessons.
Wow. Feels eerily like so many state-owned channels I've watched in other countries https://t.co/dqsLEfuLj8
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 6, 2017
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) August 6, 2017
Of course, there were plenty of other usual suspects associated with right-of-center politics over the years who are constantly searching for affirmation and head-pats from social and media elites who had to chime in as well and become Twitter lemmings. Evan McMullin–the disastrous milquetoast candidate whom Never Trumpers and the “GOP Twitter Smart Set” used during the 2016 election cycle to get consultant fees and media appearances (McMullin’s campaign was reportedly still nearly $700,000 in debt as of May of 2017)–called it the “type of propaganda you’d see in North Korea.”
The View‘s Jedediah Bila also threw some ill-informed shade, saying the video felt like “state-run” propaganda even though it was not produced with taxpayer dollars like Obama’s videos. The video, with trump’s website address and the Trump/Pence logo in the background, is not trying to fool anybody as it is clearly, as Kaczynski noted, not “different from stuff campaigns/groups” do.
This is the type of propaganda you'd see in North Korea. It erodes the people's ability to discern truth and hold government accountable. https://t.co/LZlHhoEHgL
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) August 6, 2017
These "news of the week" segments on Trump's Facebook page read very 1984-ish. Feels like state-run media propaganda. Terrible idea.
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) August 6, 2017
Hillary Clinton’s digital director Matt Ortega piled on, which was rich given how the legacy media has essentially produced propaganda interviews for Clinton for most of her political career as they have tried to break the “glass ceiling” for the robotic candidate who voters have felt never stood for anything except for doing whatever it took to get elected. Ben Rhodes, Obama’s national security hack who reportedly bragged about creating a “propaganda machine” and “echo chamber” for the Iran Deal, richly criticized McEnany’s non-deceptive video as well–McEnany is not pretending to be objective like many “pundits” and legacy media reporters so often do.
Kayleigh McEnany, now appearing on actual state-run media, lines up pretty perfectly with North Korean propaganda. pic.twitter.com/5WMjVaDazD
— Matt Ortega (@MattOrtega) August 6, 2017
I feel like Fox should just go straight to this backdrop https://t.co/mp2tITAyMP
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) August 6, 2017
So, in essence, because Trump’s campaign did not use taxpayer funds to slickly produce videos like Obama’s White House team did, the Trump campaign’s weekly “real news” videos were, to his critics, state-run propaganda clips that North Koreans would air. This line of thinking also reveals that these elitists think American voters are so stupid that they cannot tell the difference between a purportedly objective newscast and a “real news” show that the Trump campaign is producing. The legacy press, even in the digital age, try to fool viewers into believing they are “objective.” At least viewers know that the Trump’s campaign “real news” segments are biased in favor of Trump.
Here are some of Obama’s “West Wing Week” videos that legacy media reporters and those who purportedly are on the center right never found oh-so-offensive.