Bright Shiny Objects: Trump’s Real Art is Diversion
The news media is not fake, it is gullible. And Donald Trump plays them perfectly.
- Popularly attributed to P.T. Barnum
- Donald Trump
As Barack Obama left office the economy had “gained jobs for 75 straight months — the longest streak on record.” Of course, that had not stopped his successor from claiming that he had inherited a “mess” with jobs “pouring out of the country.” Still, even as Trump struggled to keep up with the numbers posted during Obama’s last year in office, his unshakable fans acted as if it was his accomplishments alone that had brought us to a point “close to what economists consider full employment.” Then on Friday, the Labor Department announced that preliminary numbers show that winning streak has come to an end; “the United States lost 33,000 jobs in September”.
There is a good chance that you may have missed the news and this probably was not an accident. “The White House receives jobs data and other economic statistics through the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) the day ahead of their release” and knew that it would play against his carefully constructed, alternate reality. What better solution than to create confusion by calling the press in for “a last-minute photo op…after the day’s press ‘lid’ was placed for the evening.” He then stirred in a little intrigue by cryptically suggesting that “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.” The recipe was completed with a dash of “you’ll find out” when he was asked for clarification.
Unsurprisingly, the press took the bait. Speculation of the meaning of these events dominated the morning news cycle as the jobs numbers were released to the public. Unlike George W. Bush, Trump could accurately declare “mission accomplished”.
This was not the first time that Trump used this page out of his playbook. For example, he had used his first hour in office to…