It’s difficult to understand the fierce and ongoing conflict between Trump and the American media without understanding the secret motives of the two parties. Trump has raised the slogan “America First| and the media has been critical of him as he continued to lament America’s status. However, these are how things look on the outside as the real conflict has nothing to do with all this.
Take the book “Fire and Fury,” in which author Michael Wolff attacked the American president, as an example. Apart from the profit made (more than 1 million copies were sold in a week), Wolff wanted to show that the president has mental health issues by citing his embarrassing behavior, careless decisions, provocative tweets and unhealthy eating habits. The aim is to collect as much evidence as possible from within the White House to get people to doubt Trump’s mental health and show that he is not capable of assuming the difficult and sensitive tasks of a president and he must therefore be expelled from office.
But the accusations which Wolff marketed are nothing new as they’ve been repeatedly made by media outlets that are hostile to Trump before he even became president.
This is in addition to accusations of Trump’s complicity with the Russians, which has not been proven. So, Trump has not only been complicit with the Russians but he’s also mentally unstable! This American propaganda is fueled by attempts to topple the media’s worst enemy. If it does not do so now, it will exhaust him until a democrat candidate defeats him in the 2020 elections.
Trump has deprived the media of its credibility. Their accusations did not influence Trump’s supporters at all and rather showed him as a hero as his popularity increased with every insult made against at him.Mamdouh AlMuhaini
Trump repeatedly says that these journalists are dishonest and that they oppose the American people’s interests. Some observers have voiced surprise at Trump’s behavior towards the media and noted that this approach is tantamount to suicide because the media is a massive machine and it would be stupid for any politician to be hostile to it as it would destroy his image like what happened in the past with George W. Bush. This perspective is relevant but in Trump’s case it did not work as the more the media attacked him, the more popular he became. Winning the presidential elections defeated the media’s ego after it had put its entire strength into see him lose and humiliated.
‘A corrupt mafia’
A New York Times reporter had even told Hillary Clinton to make Trump suffer a humiliating defeat so no other "clown" dares nominate himself for the presidency. Trump made a smart move and stood up the media before it launched its campaign against him. He put the media within the mold of the transcendent elite and the corrupt institution that is hostile to simple men whom he supports and whom he will defend when he becomes president. He also pledged to destroy this corrupt mafia that only cares about its own interests.
Trump has deprived the media of its credibility. Their accusations did not influence Trump’s supporters at all and rather showed him as a hero as his popularity increased with every insult made against at him. Trump has practiced the same approach after he became president. The more the media attacked him, the more it served his interests. It is illogical for him to reach a truce with this hostile media or to attempt to please it when he actually benefits from it on the electoral level. This strategy proved successful for Trump during the first time he ran for elections and he may succeed again especially if he implements the promises he made during the presidential campaign, particularly the economic ones which seem at their best now.
If we put accusations and insults aside, we’d realize that the conflict has nothing to do with all these allegations but it’s actually a competition over influence. There’s a personal and partisan conflict in which all legitimate and illegitimate tools are being used – a conflict that is not significant outside American borders. What matters to us in the region is relevant to answering these two questions: Do the ideas and strategies of the US president harmonize with our interests? Does the media care about these interests? The answer to these two questions is clear and is summed up in the fact that the media which supported Obama and cheered for his nuclear deal with Iran and warned him against helping the Syrians and incited him against the Gulf is the same media which is attacking Trump who has done the exact opposite of his predecessor. This is what actually matters. Apart from that, we observe the American internal situation and write about it for fun, like we’re watching an interesting football match around the clock.
This article was first published in Arabic.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain