Trump Bashing the Media Channels America’s Disgust With Its Own Elites

By John Zmirak Published on February 17, 2017

President Trump’s latest news conference was at once a lot of fun, and kind of frustrating. My initial reaction was telling. I couldn’t help thinking, “Gosh I wish Ted Cruz were the man behind that microphone. He would deliver devastating answers, dismantle the reporters’ logic, cite chapter and verse of their actual news stories illustrating their leftist bias, and finish the event with a thin, victorious smile — having proved in meticulous detail that he was the smartest and best-prepared man in the room.”

Instead, Trump spoke in sweeping terms, dismissing the press corps as biased. He taunted, mocked, and all but jeered at the cream of the Washington press corps. He spoke in the way that he seems to have picked up from dealing with construction workers over decades in the building trade — bluntly and emotionally, with large dollops of chest-thumping. In pop culture terms, Trump sounded like a Robert De Niro character, confronting a room full of Jude Laws and Kelsey Grammars.

Trump Understands Why We’re Frustrated

But wasn’t that a reason Trump won the nomination, and Ted Cruz didn’t? The conservative who played the game of our country’s Progressive elites by their own rules at their best schools and beat them every time on the facts, the logic, and history … didn’t win over the voters. The guy whose politics were all over the map, who was driven by a simple, gut love of the concrete reality of America, was able to turn all those blue states red. He connected with blue collar workers, frustrated family men and women, and worried patriots, because he naturally spoke their language.

Too many conservatives whose policies and ideals really would benefit the country and protect the common man speak just like our toxic elites — who view national borders as tedious nuisances to vacation travel and millions of their fellow Americans as “deplorable.” That’s the reason my mailman dad would angrily switch off National Public Radio in our apartment — even when a (rare) conservative was speaking, or an announcer was just giving straight news. “Turn off those liberal fairies,” he would say, annoyed by their accents and diction. Come to think of it, he was probably irritated by mine. Think of Martin Crane rolling his eyes when Frasier and Niles start nattering about French cheeses.

Trump’s populism is driven not by ethnic resentment, cultural backlash, or ideology — but the concrete reality that our economic and political systems have been optimized to benefit a narrow class.

What’s Really Deplorable is the Economy

The disconnect between our preening, self-congratulatory elites and harried, struggling Americans is real and based on more than cultural resentment, as a recent fact-packed story in Commentary reveals. Go read for yourself conservative scholar Nicholas Eberstadt’s alarming analysis of the economic indicators too often ignored by economists. What he concludes is that Trump’s populism is driven not by ethnic resentment, cultural backlash, or ideology — but the concrete reality that our economic and political systems have been optimized to benefit a narrow class of highly educated people with a homogeneous, narrow set of “acceptable” cultural, political, and religious views.

For proof of that fact, remember what Trump strategist Steve Bannon said at the Vatican in 2014 about the immoral 2008 bailout of reckless bankers’ gambling on shady mortgage investments. When ordinary taxpaying workers go to Vegas and clean out their savings, or get hooked on Vicodin after an injury, there isn’t some massive federal program that will make them whole again. There’s no golden parachute. But there are, as Eberstadt points out, just enough forms of government support (i.e., disability benefits) to keep people barely surviving. And in our staggering jobs market, that’s a temptation to which far too many once hard-working Americans are succumbing.

Learning to Talk Trump

Rather than dryly repeat them, let me sum up Eberstadt’s conclusions in terms that my dad would have gotten, and offer the kind of response that he and millions of Trump voters likely would have.

  • Rich investors are doing better than ever, but ordinary people are struggling to live as well as their parents did.
  • Unemployment is down, but that is only true because that number doesn’t count the tens of millions who have given up looking for jobs. (But we keep on importing a million unskilled workers every year — so the snooty people whose jobs are safe can feel good about themselves, and have lots of ethnic restaurants to choose from.)
  • Economic growth has slowed, and its benefits have narrowed to those social classes best at lobbying for their interests or shaping our institutions to protect themselves. (Yeah, the rich get richer, and the snobs rig the system. What else is new?)

What’s valuable about Eberstadt’s essay is that it repeats in sober prose and alarming fact the grim truths that Donald Trump talks about in fiery Tweets and angry exchanges with cosseted reporters. There’s a very good reason that millions of people saw the need to “Make America Great Again,” and it had nothing to do with preserving “white cis-gendered heterosexual privilege.”

Whether Trump and his team can overcome the massive institutional resistance to his proposals, and craft policies that actually change things, only time will tell. We don’t know if he has the answers. But at least he could hear the questions.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Autrey Windle

    The President was magnificently ordinary in his speaking. I, like you, wished at times he had specifically decimated their hammering nonsensical gotchas, but then he wouldn’t be Trump. I especially admired his repeated reminders that he will not announce his military tactics to the press or anyone else. It’s high time we had a true warrior in the commander in chief’s shoes. I didn’t start out on his side, but he has won me over with his dedication to actions that actually seek to protect and strengthen our country. God bless him and our country.

    • Kim Paczewski

      I agree, he’s won me over.

  • LYoung

    Many of us are so tired of hoity-toity elitist jargon and hogwash that it’s nice to hear a guy who just states things simply. As long as he keeps wise people around him, he need not make apologies for his vocabulary. God forbid that he start sounding like an NPR reporter.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    I also was partial to Mr. Cruz. His track record of support for conservative causes , his strong Judeo-Christian foundation & his grasp of the english language as well as his respect for the constitution gave me hope that this election could be a turning point for the country.
    Well, my hopes for that turning point were not to be disappointed. Only as history will record , that turning of the political tide was to come through a very different type of candidate. One that has created many times more the uproar from the laughable left than our evangelical constitutionalist , as misunderstood as he would have been, could have stirred in the hard hearts of his antagonists. America perhaps wasn’t ready for the moral high ground that Mr. Cruz endeavored to stand upon. What POTUS Trump has demonstrated through this administrations infancy is that America is getting ready for something they have little precedent for & even less of a shared consensus about. The bridge over the chasm that separates right from wrong or politically speaking the right from the left may never get built. Yeah, this is the “everyman” president. His billions & his resume not withstanding. I look forward w/no small measure of expectation to that which this turning tidal wave of populist political predilection will no doubt stir up. It remains to be seen
    how great will be the casualties among those resisting this coming tsunami …

    • LYoung

      President Trump was a curve ball but we did not need “business as usual” as Washington is broken. I pray for our nation but like many here I am trusting in God alone.

      • Howard Rosenbaum

        Then your trust is not misplaced. America is a republic & not a theocracy. Consequently a measure of that trust would not be misplaced in trusting those whom God has (perhaps) raised up, by those who are prayerfully trusting Him …

        • LYoung

          Thank you for your thoughtful comments, HR.

  • plc53

    Your Dad sounds like a great guy.

  • Wayne Cook

    Careful jargon has been the weapon of the MSM. They seem to comete with each other for the best choice of vocabulary, with questions couched in long winding roads of qualifying (not really) information, trying to pin whoever they are querying to a target.

    No question is straight, probably be no politician is straight. Both sides have lied to the public for years and let each other get away with it. Now that we have a Wyatt Earp in the Oval Office, the hired guns of the mean spirited and leftist press are angry at getting repeatedly gunned down, so get their supposed revenge on the ill watched nightly news.

    Tapper at the bottom, and a commentator with a similar tack as Trump’s at the top, O’Reilly. Megyn may claim she wants to spend more time on her cosmetics, but she sounds more like a woman who just can’t walk away from the biz. My guess is she’ll last less than her contract, when they cut her loose. Tapper is the Ike Clanton of the press and may just have a heart attack from anger.

    Trump bloviates as a happy child in a sandbox he (right now) owns without rival.

The Tiniest Casket
Jennifer Hartline
More from The Stream
Connect with Us