Leaks, Tweets and the White House

27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17: 27-28

The fact that the MSM is hostile to President Trump has been obvious to conservatives from day one,  and the fact that they will stop at nothing in their attempts to take him down while equally obvious; is now quantified: (MRC)

As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89% negative.

From overtly hostile statements to seemingly innocuous questions, the liberal news shows shape the narrative daily: (MRC)

Five big topics accounted for roughly two-fifths (43%) of the whopping 1,900 minutes of total network airtime devoted to the Trump administration. But those five topics accounted for a much larger share (63%) of the negative coverage hurled at the administration, as the networks covered each with an overwhelmingly hostile (more than 90% negative) slant. The next-most-covered item (222 minutes) was the continuing probe of Russia’s presumed role in last year’s hacks of Democratic e-mails, and whether individuals connected to the Trump campaign may have participated in the scheme. While this topic generated only about half as many evaluative statements as the travel ban, an overwhelming 97% (153 out of 157) were critical of President Trump and his associates. Network anchors used the flap to brand the President as an incorrigible liar. “After a string of unproven claims, will this President struggle to keep the trust of the American public?” NBC’s Lester Holt intoned on his March 20 newscast. Earlier, on March 8, CBS’s Scott Pelley suggested President Trump had psychological problems, asking longtime Democratic official Leon Panetta: “Is it appropriate to ask whether the President is having difficulty with rationality?”

In contrast, the prior President suffered no such indignity: (MRC)

Eight years ago, the networks’ treatment of President Obama’s first 100 days was very different. Back then, the networks delivered most of their coverage to Obama’s key policy priorities, topped by the nearly $1 trillion “stimulus” package (150 stories, or 15% of the total). The network spin for that legislation: 58% positive, vs. 42% negative. “The President’s first seven weeks have been a whirlwind, with often dramatic movement in all directions, on all fronts: the economy, health care, two wars and today education reform,” then-anchor Brian Williams marveled on the March 10, 2009 NBC Nightly News. On World News, March 1, 2009, ABC’s medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, gushed after a forum on health care: “I was blown away by President Obama’s grasp of the subject, how he connected the dots, how he answered the questions without any script.”

Over the past few weeks, it appears the MSM animus has increased by an order of magnitude. This seems to be correlated directly to the inordinate number of intelligence leaks flowing out of our capital city on a daily basis. The lack of actual reporting, the dearth of sourced journalism has led to a smarmy stream of gossipy innuendo rather than what was respected methodology just a few years ago.

That the WH and intelligence leaks must be stopped isn’t in question. The success of stemming those leaks is. The intelligence community appears to have the long knifes out for President Trump, and locating embedded liberal Obama supporters is akin to “whack-a-mole”. Like roaches, the bureaucratic deep state can’t be completely eliminated, and won’t go down without a fight.

 There is however a simple, perhaps even wise solution for the White House. Silence. Press Secretary Sean Spicer should announce the following as policy:

The White House will no longer respond to any question on any issue which stems from leaks or unnamed sources.

As oxygen is an oxidizer to fire, so is WH response to ongoing news coverage. The MSM needs, absolutely requires an official administration response to maintain any semblance of ongoing news coverage. Without official response, these anonymously sourced leaks would just become basement level op-ed.

This is not to say the President’s tweets should stop, just any official WH response. The single reply:  “We don’t respond to questions about stories with unnamed sources.” will effectively eliminate at least some of the white noise.

Today, Sean Spicer announced he would no longer address questions about All Things Russia, but would instead direct those questions to the WH Counsel. This is a great start, but Russia isn’t the only story that originated with unnamed sources, nor will it be the last. A standard WH reply would be highly effective, as well as serve to eliminate the odious and snide remarks that usually surround “No Comment”.

 Trying to muzzle the President is an exercise in futility. But, watching him twist the MSM into pretzels through his tweets, while at the same time seeing the DC coterie of news hacks chase Mr. Spicer or Ms. Huckabee Sanders around the press room squealing fruitlessly for any response to intelligence leaks would be fantastic early afternoon entertainment.

About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

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