This is a synopsis of the relationship between our last three presidents and how they managed relationships with the media. There is a lot of controversy and a lot more media bickering today than I remember in the past. What drove us to this point? Before cable news we primarily had network TV news and daily city newspapers. Much of what people thought was based on the stories told on ABC, NBC and CBS news divisions. The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers swayed most political thinking.
Cable TV networks were the beginning of the news source changes. Then along came proliferation of the internet. Talk radio was out there, but not with a loud voice. Most news media had a leftward slant, but it was not blatantly unfair. They always favored Democrats over Republican administrations, primarily shown by the stories they chose to ignore, moreso than the stories they actually told.
That was the media situation when President George W. Bush came to office. Bush sometimes seemed to be tongue-tied when he spoke. The press ridiculed him. He rolled with it. He even changed the name of his strategy meetings to strategery meetings let the world know that being a human being mocked by the media did not bother him. After 9/11 and the war time actions Bush took, Code Pink started following & stalking him. They got plenty of media attention, moreso than the president. Bush rolled. He basically ignored the media.
President Obama came into office with the willing acceptance of the media. During the campaign season, there was tremendous press scrutiny of John McCain and Sarah Palin and almost no scrutiny of Obama. There was a concerted effort by the Democrat Party and the media to find “dirt” on Palin and find Republicans that would speak out against McCain.
There was a smattering of disreputable things in Obama’s history that were reported on Fox News and talk radio. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayres, Acorn, birth records, etc. that the mainstream media refused to explore. Instead they jumped full force on the Obama team and became the standard bearers for the Democrat Party.
With the mainstream media on his side, President Obama went after Fox news and talk radio, being the only dissenting voices to tell the other side of the story. Obama used the full force of the government to try and shut down these voices. He used IRS investigations, FCC rules and regulations and the Department of Justice challenges to dissenting media. In other words, Obama wanted the news organizations that would tell you the truth to stop doing it.
By the time Trump ran for president, the mainstream news media was part of the Democrat Party. Trump was loud and boisterous, so they could not ignore him. They gave him plenty of air time to give him the rope he needed to hang himself. He hung and hung and hung, but would not go away. He played the press like a drum on his way to the oval office.
He used guile, energy, media-savvy and media exposure to win a rigorous campaign with all the mainstream media against him. He fought back with Twitter. He used and uses Twitter to force the telling of stories the mainstream media will not tell. As president, he uses Twitter to correct the record when the mainstream media told falsehoods about him.
An interesting time in our political and media history.