Reince Priebus learned a hard lesson over the past six months and Americans should pay attention to it. After leaving his job as White House Chief of Staff last week, Priebus told Sean Hannity that the national press is flat-out “dishonest.”
“What I find to be amazing is how narratives are set and a lot of it is not true. … The most breathtaking thing for me has been the difference between what the truth is and what often gets reported.”
Priebus was referring to story lines that have taken deep root in the anti-Trump media.
The most prominent one is that Russia and the Trump campaign worked together to sabotage Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton CNN’s Zakaria: Trump’s win was a ‘class rebellion against people like us’ Opinion | Bill O’Reilly: A media lynch-mob is trying to take down Trump Trump fuels doubts over GOP’s agenda MORE‘s presidential run. Hundreds of stories have run bolstering that theory; many of them driven by rank speculation and the use of anonymous sources that are clearly opposed to Trump.
The second story line embraced by the hate-Trump forces is that the president is unfit to hold the office. Under this banner, almost everything the man says or does is reported as a negative. Day after day, the media themes of corruption and incompetence are hammered home with few solid facts to back up the negative expositions. It must be said, however, that Trump’s lack of discipline in replying to the attacks is greatly aiding his opposition.
It is certainly true that every American has the right and perhaps civic duty to form an educated opinion about their leader. But those opinions should be based on facts that demonstrate truth — not contrived narratives designed by partisan ideologues.
And it’s not just the left that is hating Trump. A good number of conservatives are participating in the lynch mob. If you think there wasn’t a dose of personal animus in John McCainJohn McCainDrudge shares ‘Trump in a Slump’ headline Bipartisan group floats ObamaCare fixes Drudge slams McCain: ‘Corruption has so many faces’ MORE‘s vote to keep ObamaCare intact, you’re living in the Land of Oz. Senator McCain despises Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDem campaign chief vows no litmus test on abortion CNN’s Zakaria: Trump’s win was a ‘class rebellion against people like us’ Opinion | Bill O’Reilly: A media lynch-mob is trying to take down Trump MORE, perhaps with justification, and fully understands how his vote has damaged the president.
Thinking about the John McCain vote that saved Obamacare. Did the Senator stick it to President Trump for personal reasons?
— Bill O’Reilly (@billoreilly) July 28, 2017
Another conservative, pundit Peggy Noonan, recently launched a vicious personal attack on Trump’s manhood. Ms. Noonan basically ignored the unprecedented battering the president has taken in the media as a reason that he might respond to criticism inappropriately at times. She is smart enough to know the media score but not honest enough to provide perspective while denigrating Trump.
By the way, that’s what seeking the truth is all about, providing some honest perspective even if you don’t like someone.
Reince Priebus witnessed the hostile media onslaught up close and personal. At this point in our history, few reporters are actively seeking the truth. Almost all allegations against Trump and his supporters are treated as facts. Conclusions are drawn, narratives spun.
In short, Americans are being barraged with story lines designed to make it impossible for Donald Trump to govern.
This is right out of the Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” playbook. Isolate a political target, and hammer the person ceaselessly with whatever you can think of. The truth be damned. Demonize and marginalize your opposition in order to destroy them.
As Sharyl Attkisson’s new book “The Smear” chronicles with facts, the anti-Trump, anti-conservative movement has now become an organized industry in the U.S. with millions of dollars supporting it. More than a few national press people are part of that industry as they print or broadcast unproven accusations using the word “reportedly” to justify spreading unverified information.
It is very possible that the White House does not fully understand the powerful forces arrayed against it. Priebus seems shocked by what he calls “press dishonesty.” But it has been on display for many years.
The difference now is Donald Trump. He is so despised by the progressive movement, and by some conservatives as well, that old rules of fairness and truth-seeking no longer apply. It is obviously wrong for the press to insinuate and then promote conclusions based upon biased conjecture, but in some media precincts the “get Trump” end justifies the means.
Presidential tweets and charges of fake news are not going to be enough to blunt the media corruption that has so horrified Reince Priebus.
Only a full, methodical exposure of it to the American people may provide some balance.
Bill O’Reilly is the former host of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News and is the author of “Old School: Life in the Sane Lane,” and “Killing the Rising Sun.” He now analyzes the news on BillO’Reilly.com.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.