Mr. Trump understands that attacking the media is the reddest of meat for his base, which has been conditioned to reject reporting from news sites outside of the conservative media ecosystem.
For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled.
Yesterday, in a story about some of Trump’s remarks, CNN ran a chyron reading “Trump: I never said Japan should have nukes (he did)”. That kind of on-the-fly fact-checking is unusual, but Trump necessitates it because he tells such a spectacularly large number of lies. He also enables it because those lies are often repeated and obvious. So we’re beginning to see those corrections appear right in the body of stories: the reporter relays what Trump said, and notes immediately that it’s false.
The latest twist in the conservative effort to tie the IRS tax-exempt targeting scandal to the president is to focus on public visitor records released by the White House, in which former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman’s name appears 157 times between 2009 and 2012. Unfortunately, few of those pushing this line have bothered to read more than the topline of that public information.
The right-wing noise machine, in full effect. You’ve got The Daily Caller, the Investors Business Daily, and Fox News, all demonstrating gross journalistic incompetence, laziness, or simple dishonesty.
Now that we've reached the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, it seems only fit and proper that those of us who opposed the war from the very beginning explain how our errors in judgment led us to be so catastrophically wrong about America's signature foreign policy achievement of the 21st century.