It’s still shocking

Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy of CNN’s Reliable Sources –

The newsworthiness of President Trump‘s words changes day by day. He’s a storyteller who misspeaks and makes up stories and contradicts himself so often that his words have very little “take it to the bank” value. But what he says is still taken seriously by many millions of people — sometimes even by world leaders and stock markets. What he says is also a view into how he acts and what he decides.

So it is genuinely shocking, still, at this late date in Trump’s first term, that on a single day, he said the following:

— “No, I won’t be going. No,” he said, when asked if he plans to visit the US Capitol to pay his respects to John Lewis, the conscience of the Congress.

— “I haven’t seen him lately,” Trump said, reacting to the news that his National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for Covid-19. He said he’d call O’Brien later and evinced no concern about the diagnosis.

— “Really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair!” he said, on the subject of Twitter’s “Trending” box.

“So disgusting”

  • Trump’s tweet about “Trending” showed a fundamental lack of understanding about how social media works. He said it’s “so disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called ‘Trending’, where sooo many trends are about me, and never a good one. They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend.”
  • At the time he lodged the complaint, the hashtag #TrumpHatesWomen was trending on Twitter. According to the company, “trends are determined by an algorithm and, by default, are tailored for you based on who you follow, your interests, and your location.”

>> As Mediaite’s Josh Feldman noted, Trump was roundly “called out and mocked for weighing in on this and claiming it’s illegal.”

>> Democratic congressman Don Beyer tweeted, “Nearly 150,000 Americans have died from a pandemic that is raging out of control and the President of the United States is, predictably, whining about himself.”

NYT’s scoop about the Yankees

  • Think back to Trump’s comment last week — one hour before Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch at the MLB season opener — that “I think I’m doing that on Aug. 15 at Yankee Stadium.”
  • “There was one problem: Mr. Trump had not actually been invited on that day by the Yankees,” the NYT’s Katie Rogers and Noah Weiland report, citing a person with knowledge of Trump’s schedule. They say “his announcement surprised both Yankees officials and the White House staff,” and that it happened because he was “annoyed by Dr. Fauci’s turn in the limelight.” Trump “cancelled” the date over the weekend…

To my original point about newsworthiness:

CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted this on Sunday night: “Honestly the second worst thing about the president attacking me on twitter — after the sad statement made about his focus and how wrong he is about the pandemic — is that I didn’t even know it happened until 3 hours later. No one called, no one emailed. It’s just noise.”

I had a similar experience when POTUS tweeted about me a couple of months ago. The fact that “it’s just noise” is part of what’s so shocking…

Looking at a preview of the Washington Post’s front page, I was taken aback by the connections between the photo and the stories.

  • On the left, Lewis lies in state.
  • On the right, lawmakers feud over proposed cuts to aid for poor Americans.
  • Below, a story about inequality: “Virus fuels widening gap between buyers, renters.”
  • And on the bottom left, just below the photo, a headline about a street fight: “More federal agents being dispatched to Portland.” From the 1960s to the 2020s on one page….

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About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Known as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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