When President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that the legacy media would be “forced” to cover America’s improving economy, reporters in the establishment press freaked out, implying that Trump would strong-arm them into doing so while ushering in an authoritarian regime.
Trump tweeted: “At some point the Fake News will be forced to discuss our great jobs numbers, strong economy, success with ISIS, the border & so much else!”
At some point the Fake News will be forced to discuss our great jobs numbers, strong economy, success with ISIS, the border & so much else!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
NBC’s Katy Tur oh-so-seriously and ominously asked on-air what Trump meant by “forced.” Talking Points Memo asked, “Trump declares the press will be “forced” to cover his achievements. What First Amendment?”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 3, 2017
A contributor to the New York Times and New Republic wrote, “Interesting choice by Trump to use the word ‘forced’ the day after sharing his fantasy of assaulting a news network.” An NBC News editor emphasized Trump’s use of the words “will be ‘forced’ to.”
Interesting choice by Trump to use the word "forced" the day after sharing his fantasy of assaulting a news network. https://t.co/ql65wgAwT9
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) July 3, 2017
Later in the day, though he did not specifically mention or refer to the tweet, NBC’s Chuck Todd spoke generally about Trump’s “dehumanizing” tweets.
“If these actions and this language was being used by a leader in a different country, our State Department… not just we in general… would be saying ‘Hmm, that country is inching towards authoritarianism,’” Todd said. “Because that’s usually the first sign: when you try to delegitimize a free press.”
What the optimistic Trump clearly meant was that the economy will boom so much under his presidency that it will be nearly impossible for the legacy press to ignore the good news.
Anyone living outside of the legacy media’s insular bubbles understood what Trump meant.
This is yet another example of why nearly 70% of Americans, according to the most recent Marist/NPR poll, do no trust the media, answering “not very much” or “not at all” when asked whether they trusted the press.