It used to be that the press knew how to take it in as well as how to dish it out.
That was then. This is now.
For more than a week the national press corps has been getting its collective shorts twisted into a knot over the fact that President Donald was rude to Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
The shorts-twisting began with a pair of offending presidential tweets that read: “I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came… to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
Crazy Mika and Psycho Joe, and their fellow ink-stained wretches, took this badly and responded by calling Trump, among other things, “crude,” “sexist,” “thin-skinned,” “un-presidential,” “a pig” and — above all — “mentally erratic,” “un-well” and “not normal.”
Mika and Joe had a piece in the Washington Post headlined “Donald Trump is not well.” Post columnist Kathleen Parker weighed in with a piece hopefully headlined “Is this it for Trump,” in which she suggested that maybe “President Trump isn’t quite right? Not in the correct sense but in the head sense.”
Right on cue a couple dozen Democratic Congressmen introduced legislation to form a commission with the power to determine if Trump is too mentally ill to hold office. (Say, this isn’t an example of that Democrat-media collusion we’ve heard so much about, is it?)
So is Trump really as nutso as the media claims?
Give me a break.
Trump’s tweets blasting Mika and Joe may be many things — rude, crude and boorish all come to mind — but they are not “not normal.”
Scarborough and Brzezinski have been sliming Trump almost from the day he took office, regularly questioning his intelligence, integrity, honesty and sanity. Wanting to rip into assholes who treat you like that is a perfectly normal human reaction. The insane reaction is to sit there and take it and let them define you.
This may come as a shock to Crazy Mika and Psycho Joe, but calling someone insane is libel — and doing it repeatedly over five months on national TV is pretty good evidence of malice.
When someone libels you, you usually have two remedies available: 1) sue them for damages, or 2) exercise your right of reply.
Since it’s virtually impossible for a public figure like the president to win a libel case, Trump has chosen to exercise his right of reply.
Scarborough and Brzezinski have made libel and character assassination part of their brand, so it takes a lot of chutzpah on their part to pose as wounded sparrows when the guy they’ve been sliming hits back in kind.
Hey, get over it, snowflakes. If you want to be part of The Resistance, you better learn how to take a hit. Rub some dirt on it and suck it up. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Scarborough and Brzezinski aren’t the only media snowflakes who went into whining victim mode after being targeted by a Trump tweet.
Last Sunday Trump tweeted a video of him body slamming and punching a man whose head had been replaced by the CNN logo.
Like Joe and Mika, CNN has been talking trash about Trump 24/7 since he took office. But a couple of weeks ago CNN stepped on its junk by posting an erroneous, and libelous, story on its website about alleged collusion between a Trump confident and the Russians. CNN had to issue a humiliating apology and sack three of the staffers responsible, including one who had won a Pulitzer Prize at the New York Times before joining CNN.
The video was Trump’s way of taking a victory lap after CNN’s pratfall.
CNN and a large part of the Washington press corps immediately whined that the video was a thinly disguised call to violence against reporters.
The claim was self-serving bullshit, but it’s easy to see why the ink-stained warriors of The Resistance may be getting a bit edgy about the prospect of becoming targets of angry Trump supporters — since they can’t seem to stop airing Trump assassination fantasies. (The most recent was MSNBC’s Chris Matthews joking, sort of, about the execution of Jared Kushner: “So the son-in-law — you know, one good thing Mussolini did was execute his son-in-law.”)
As with Scarborough and Brzezinski it takes world class temerity for these folks to play the victim card — and to play it in response to a silly video ridiculing them at that.
Trump’s tweets, which reach more than 52 million followers, are not a sign of insanity or ego-mania or incipient fascism. They are a rational and obviously effective response to a national press corps and elements of the American establishment that are out to get him.
But in order to get him, they have to get Trump to play by their rules of discourse and decorum.
But Trump isn’t about to play by their rules.
He’s playing by Alinsky rules (as in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals).
Like Alinsky’s fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
Or the 13th rule, which says make the attacks on your chosen targets personal and polarizing.
Most of the Washington chattering class wants Trump to stop tweeting. In their dreams.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.