There is a reason why the mainstream news media and the Democratic Party are in an uproar: They've been left out of the political equation by a player who understands the game better than they do. And that player is President Trump, who has conducted a masterful war against his media foes over the last 72 hours, launching a series of strategic tweets that deemed the hostile press not only "fake" but "fraudulent."
The president himself declared that he was the victor to his 31 million Twitter followers, adding one more telling tweet that summarizes his very effective skill set: "My use of social media is not Presidential - it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL," Mr. Trump advised.
"Trump is Trump. He does what he does, which is what he did during the campaign and before. And now, in the White House, he has enlisted his media adversaries, wittingly or not, in a campaign against 'fake news' that resonates with his core supporters," writes Byron York, a columnist for the Washington Examiner, who says that those who engage in "sloppy fights" with Mr. Trump often emerge diminished in the aftermath.
"President Trump knows how to communicate directly with his supporters by using Twitter and having campaign-style rallies. His supporters like this because they see President Trump fight the mainstream media," writes J. Marsalo, a contributor to American Thinker, who adds that journalists fear Mr. Trump is making them irrelevant - and that he is now coming to own the "playing field."
This phenomenon has been building for a while. In March, a Morning Consult poll made this conclusion: Trump scandals "make his voters like him more," revealing that, among other things, Mr. Trump's claim that the news media "is an enemy of the people" caused his favorability numbers to rise by 31 percentage points among those who support him.
"As we know now, most of the media totally missed Trump's appeal to millions upon millions of Americans. The prejudice against him blinded those news organizations to what was happening in the country. Even more incredibly, I believe the bias and hostility directed at Trump backfired. The feeling that the election was, in part, a referendum on the media, gave some voters an extra incentive to vote for Trump. A vote for him was a vote against the media and against Washington," writes Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist.
"The 2016 election was the media's Humpty Dumpty moment. It fell off the wall, shattered into a million pieces, and can't be put back together again. In case there is any doubt, 2017 is confirming that the standards are still dead. The orgy of visceral Trump-bashing continues unabated," adds Mr. Goodwin.
WHAT CONGRESS DID ON ITS VACATIONS
The fast-approaching summer break is one of many for Congress. Lawmakers will take off a total of 218 days this year, this according to the newly released congressional calendar, says the Fox Business Network, which reports that the House of Representatives will only be in session for 147 days in 2017.
"I would not want to be a member of Congress heading home for the July Fourth recess," network host Stuart Varney told fellow anchor Maria Bartiromo during a weekend discussion of this phenomenon.
This schedule does not do much to improve the persistent image of a do-nothing Congress.
"That's a lot of time off when you haven't accomplished anything else. There's not a single congressperson who will be immune from criticism," Mr. Varney predicts.
A BRIEF DIVERSION: THE COLD FACTS
"In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day," points out the International Dairy Foods Association, adding that ice cream is good for the economy - generating $39 billion in sales and creating 188,000 jobs. The industry group also reveals America's favorite flavors, based on a national survey of manufacturers and retailers.
Vanilla is in first place, followed by chocolate, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, buttered pecan, cookie dough, strawberry, "moose tracks" (vanilla ice cream, fudge swirl, peanut butter cups) and, in 10th place, Neapolitan.
The dairy association also notes that several members cited popular, lesser-known flavors including lemon poppy seed muffin, black sesame and "exhausted parent" - "a bourbon- and caffeine-spiked concoction."
SEEKING SIMPLE ANSWERS
"Democrats refuse to cooperate in voter fraud investigation," points out Powerline.com analyst John Hinderaker, citing the treatment of President Trump's newly established Election Integrity Commission, which has requested publicly available data on voter registrations in all 50 states.
"Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of the request, a number of states have refused to cooperate," says Mr. Hinderaker.
"Democrats purport to be horrified by Russian 'meddling' in our election that didn't change a single vote, but they have no qualms about meddling by illegal voters, presumably because they think it helps them," Mr. Hinderaker observes.
"The Election Integrity Commission is trying to find out how much illegal voting goes on. The Democrats constantly tell us there is no, or virtually no, voter fraud. If that were the case, one would think that they would want to cooperate with the commission to prove their point," he continues. "The fact that they don't want the commission to be able to find out, for example, how many people are registered voters in multiple states, suggests that what they really want is for voter fraud to continue, because they know they benefit from it."
POLL DU JOUR
• 68 percent of Americans say the news media should be "a watchdog of the government."
• 53 percent prefer a news media that is "aligned" with their personal views.
• 52 percent say those who leak classified information to the press should be prosecuted.
• 43 percent think the news media "tries to report news" without bias.
• 28 percent say journalists should be "free to publish" classified information.
• 26 percent say the First Amendment protects "fake news."
• 23 percent say the First Amendment goes too far in its protections.
Source: A Newseum Institute "State of the First Amendment" survey of 1,009 U.S. adults conducted May 1-31 and released Friday.
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