The Trump media war due to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election has exploded into a massive fire, but who’s winning? Trump’s allies and the conservative media are pulling on the rope from one side, and the liberal media is yanking from the other, but the President may have just seized the advantage.
Trump has managed to win some points not because he proved that his critics are wrong, but rather, because one of his enemies, CNN, made a major mistake. The news network turned up the heat in the Trump media war when it published a now-retracted story which claimed that former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated for his ties to a Russian investment fund.
The CNN story was later trashed by other media outlets, and the network had to retract the controversial story. The scandal prompted three journalists to resign as Trump managed to gain a tactical advantage in his war with the media, though many experts have seen it coming for months. Ever since the liberal media adopted the anti-Trump narrative, many news outlets landed in hot water for trying to bring down the President, often in incorrect, bizarre ways that left their reputation in tatters.
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But is there a winner in the Trump media war yet? Has anyone gained an advantage in the raging war over the last seven months since Trump was elected President?
Media’s obsession with Trump-Russia story in numbers
Much of the media’s attention is fixed on Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. With the FBI investigation underway, hundreds of reports – both trustworthy and untrustworthy – keep popping up in the media on a weekly basis. The Media Research Center (MRC) revealed the extent of the media’s obsession with the Trump-Russia story earlier this week. On Tuesday, the MRC reported that as much as 55% of all media coverage of the President and his top advisers is devoted to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The media has spent a staggering 353 minutes of airtime reporting on the Trump-Russia story since May 17, while the President’s controversial decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate change accord received only 47 minutes of airtime. One of the most pressing issues of our time, the fight against terrorism, has attracted only 29 minutes of media coverage.
Trump media war: Is Russian meddling in 2016 election “fake news”?
But the increased scrutiny of Russian meddling in the U.S. election does not necessarily give the liberal media the advantage in the Trump media war, as the more stories on the alleged interference there are, the bigger chance that some of the stories will not be accurate. This was the case with the scandalous CNN story that has been retracted by the network.
As the liberal media locks horns with Trump and the conservative media, CNN’s attempts to provide evidence of Trump’s ties to Russia failed tremendously when it had to retract the story on Scaramucci. The President, of course, was quick to point the finger at CNN’s mistake via Twitter, accusing the network of “falsely pushing their phony Russian stories.” But the President also reminded his nearly 33 million followers that NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times and The Washington Post also fall into his self-described category of “fake news.”
Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
CNN producer: Trump-Russia stories are “mostly bullsh*t”
The controversy surrounding CNN’s story sparked a furor in the media, with many saying that the President has yet again trumpeted the media for its allegedly biased coverage of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
But the media’s missteps in the Trump media war are nothing new, as the embarrassing story on Scaramucci came just weeks after the network published another inaccurate report. It reported that former FBI Director James Comey was ready to dispute the President’s claim that Comey had told him he wasn’t being investigaed by the FBI in connection with Russia’s alleged meddling in the election.
CNN’s latest string of inaccuracies in the Trump-Russia coverage came after a no-less-worrying secret recording that allegedly catches CNN producer Van Jones saying that the network’s CEO Jeff Zucker pushes the Trump-Russia stories even though they are “mostly bullsh*t.”
The bright side of CNN’s mistake
While there is still no winning player in the Trump media war, CNN’s misstep opened the door for more skepticism from Americans toward the media. Although that does not necessarily they will immediately start supporting the President and his agenda without questioning his decisions, it could encourage Americans to start trying to decipher things by themselves instead of wholeheartedly believing in media reports or Trump’s tweets.
The latest stunt by CNN may suggest that the mainstream media has a vendetta against the Trump administration or that the network was simply trying to push yet another Trump-Russia story, as CEO Zucker reportedly instructed his staffers to do. After all, the Trump-Russia story attracts 55% of all media coverage of the President.
This is by no means a victory for the President in the Trump media war. However, the growing distrust in the mainstream media could encourage people to make conclusions on their own without having journalists or politicians plant conclusions in their heads.
Is the President winning the Trump media war?
As the FBI investigation continues, the liberal media keeps accusing the Trump administration of having ties to Russia. Meanwhile, the President and his advisors keep defending themselves and calling the reports on Russian meddling in the 2016 election media-driven and politically-motivated.
As Americans start questioning the media’s credibility, it could be the bright side of CNN’s mistake, as only Americans can decide who wins the Trump media war.