The Administration Holds First Press Conference With An Attack on Media Over Crowd Estimates

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-7-06-26-amThe Trump Administration has a rocky kick off this week due to both things outside of its control and things of its own making. First there was the planned protests against the new President — demonstrations both on Inaugural Day and the next day that I criticized. Those were outside the control of the Administration. However, then there was a remarkably disappointing and lackluster Inaugural speech followed by a truly dreadful press conference. This was the first press conference for the Administration – a key moment for any new Administration. Instead of emphasizing the positive and taking control of the news cycle with strategic announcements, White House Press secretary Sean Spicer largely criticized the press and then made a series a highly dubious factual assertions about the size of Trump’s audience. It was a performance that even  stalwart supporters like Charles Krauthammer on Fox called “weird.”  Likewise, Fox News has described Spicer’s facts as “incorrect.” Most of us who have previously watched or covered Inaugurations thought that the crowd seemed smaller.  So what?  Tens of millions of people voted for Trump. That is the measure that counts.  Yet, Spicer went on the attack with some shaky assertions and guaranteed that this tempest in a teapot would be the focus of the next news cycle — and gave critics an opening to lambast the new president.  I have said this before that friends of this President need to call him out when his Administration goofs if they want this Administration to succeed.  This is one such moment and shows an early lack of discipline and message.

In fairness to Spicer, the news conference seemed to follow the President’s lead, not Spicer’s.  Indeed, President Trump was widely criticized for standing in front of the memorial wall at the CIA and went off on a tangent against reports of his crowd being smaller than Obama’s.  It was viewed as highly inappropriate and trivial at such a memorial. The other agenda item was to blast some unknown reporter for a Time reporter’s story that the MLK bust was removed from the Oval Office. Ok, sloppy reporting. Maybe even too eager to find a fault. But that is the stuff of your first news conference. I have no doubt that there are people looking for every negative angle to make the Administration look bad, but you do not have to help them by taking the bait.

Part of the role of White House Spokesman is not to just be the sword and shield for the Administration (though it appears Spicer will be more sword than shield).  He is also the key liaison to the media and needs to develop a sense of trust with these reporters.  No president can lead by tweet. He must interact with journalists and they need to have some level of trust in facts being put forward by an Administration. The proper thing is for the spokesman to ream out the reporter in the bust story and let it be known that there was a dressing down for a false story.  That is why this start was so dreadful.

As Politico and other outfits have detailed, the factual assertions of Spicer appear either demonstrably false and highly questionable.  Most people, including myself, thought that the crowed looked smaller.  That was not a big deal to me.  President Obama was the nation’s first black president and there was an outpouring of supporters.  Moreover, there was the promise of protests and higher security at this event that probably did dampen attendance.  In the end it really does not matter.  Trump and his aides seemed to “protest too much” and revealed a degree of insecurity in constantly returning to the issue of counting attendees.  He received almost half the votes in the country — around 47 percent.  While he lost the popular vote, that is immaterial in our electoral system and he won an overwhelming number of states and delegates.  In other words, he has nothing to prove.

Instead, the Administration telegraphed nothing but insecurity in lashing out at reporters, which were virtually universal on the size of the crowd.  Spicer tried to argue that this was the first time that the nation used floor coverings, which created an image of a smaller crowd. As Politico noted, that is not true. Coverings were previously used.  However, I do not personally recall such large spaces being laid out in white coverings.

Spicer also said that the worst angles were used by some in the media. He may be right. I have been critical of the coverage of Trump during the campaign, which I viewed as overtly hostile.  Yet, I watched the inauguration and it did not seem true, as Spicer claimed that “All of this space [from Trump’s platform to the Washington Monument] was full when the president took the Oath of Office.”  There was an impressive crowd near the platform but it thinned toward the monument.

Spicer appears clearly wrong in saying that “We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural.”  He is right about the 317,000 figure.  This was the number of people who traveled before 11 am — in time for the Inaugural speech.  If the same period is used for this Inauguration, the figure for Trump would be 193,000. In terms of the whole day, there were 570,557 — a very large number.  However, in 2013, the full day ridership was 782,000 and in 2009 it was 1.1 million.

Perhaps the worst assertion was that “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”  That statement was instantly ridiculed.  Obama’s 2009 Inauguration was a record breaker.  Moreover the television audience was smaller: 30.6 million compared to 41.8 million for Reagan in 1981 and 37.7 million for Obama in 2009.

Again, we are only crunching number because the White House used the first press conference almost exclusively to this dispute.  Instead of focusing on the hundreds of thousands of people who were there and their celebration in pulling off one of the greatest upsets in U.S. political history, Spicer (and the President).  made this the framing story of the first 24 hours of this Administration.  Given the President’s statements at the CIA, I do not believe that this was just some tangent that Spicer unilaterally decided to take for the first press conference.  However, if this Administration is to flourish, it will need to gain greater control over messaging and timing.

Once again, I do not fault Spicer in criticizing some of the angles and coverage.  He must deal with what must be (and I have no aerial pictures to support this assertion) the most hostile press corps of any new president in history.  He is trying to push back, but that is not the type of message that you want to be the near exclusive focus of your first conference.  It is the type of thing that you release with photos outside of the conference and, if necessary, take questions on the issue while emphasizing new changes.  Trump has started to keep his promises on the ACA and other issues. That should have been the focus of the conference to convey that Trump remains committed to being a vehicle for change. Rather than convey strength, the conference conveyed a hypersensitivity and insecurity.

Here is the first official press conference:

 

 

212 thoughts on “The Administration Holds First Press Conference With An Attack on Media Over Crowd Estimates”

  1. The insecurity exhibited at the press conference stems from the fact that Trump is a narcissist, and the lackluster attendance at the inauguration resulted in a narcissistic injury. There will be plenty more to come.

  2. The reaction to this press conference is no different than the reaction to this President, this nominee, this candidate and this person. And it’s a beautiful thing to witness. While everyone has been trying every which way to confine Trump in some acceptable box, he’s stayed the course from the Trump Tower escalator to the White House.

    This press conference was not “about” MLK’s bust or crowd sizes; this was about setting the expectations for future press briefings AND overall press coverage. Was it awkward, absolutely. If the press walked away from that feeling comfortable then they are not very perceptive. If they believe they will get Spicer in line then they will be expecting something that will never come. Trump WILL condition the press, not the other way around. I wouldn’t be surprised to see WH press credentials to be yanked if a report or their organization is found to be reporting fake news. Either that or they will never get a question during a briefing.

    I expect the learning-curve for Trump will only be procedural. But with everything else, I expect the learning-curve will be a reset of expectations for everyone else. If you find yourself disappointed by something he’s doing, then ask yourself what are you measuring it against. Policy-wise, he will not please everyone. Procedural-wise, well that paradigm shift will need to be on you, because it won’t be this President.

    The uncomfortableness, we need it. That’s one way to wake up an apathetic nation.

    1. Olly – Trump is using behavioral psychology on the presstitudes. You either punish bad behavior or you ignore it. You don’t reward it.

  3. Trump cares about Trump. Not about much else. He lies consistently. Compulsively. I would say “fasten your seat belts”, but I doubt that seat belts will protect you from the mayhem and destruction that is likely to be caused by Trump and his team.

    The fact that the MSM has rightfully earned the distrust of persons from every part of the political spectrum does not in any way justify Spicer’s lies. Just like the fact that the FBI and CIA have their own agendas does not mean that Putin did not provide an “assist” to Trump. Putin supported Trump not just because he hates Hillary but also Putin understood that, with Trump as president, our country is much more likely to go to hell in a hand basket. Putin is not our friend.

    Professor Turley, did you read about the incident at the US-Canadian border where people attempting to come to the USA to attend yesterday’s march were asked whether they supported Trump? When they said they were coming here to attend the march, they were turned back. That is truly disgusting and scary.

    1. Squeeky, I’m still trying to figure out why they were marching? More pay, more abortions, more child care, more nights out with their husbands, more, more, more what? Each time I hear one interviewed it’s something different. Trump has been in business for all these years he hasn’t held them back, he hires smart women. When their favorite President was in office why didn’t they march then, where have these women been the past 8 years?

  4. (music)
    Doctor, doctor, what you say.. How bout lettin me out today.
    Ain’t no reason for me to stay… cause..
    Everybody’s far away….
    Get me back on my feet again!
    Back on my feet again.
    Open the door, set me free…
    Get me back on my feet again.

    With New Guy we have a Press Secretary who needs to be locked up. Not set free. Spicy is a wacko. Sounds like itShay. Looks like itShay. Smells like itShay. Glad I didn’t step in it.

  5. I loved every word of President Trump’s Inaugural speech. I hope he has great success.

  6. “Disappointing and lackluster inaugural speech”…are you kidding!!! It was great and had people cheering and in tears for how good (and Pro-American) it was.

  7. It would have been a really good idea to be a gracious person. All the needed said was, yes, our crowd was not as large as Obama’s. Nevertheless we want to thank every person who came out to be with us. We hope to live up to your expectations and do right by the American people. Now, let’s take some questions.

    The same could be said of the crowd yesterday. I disagree with JT that crowds shouldn’t protest. This was a policy based march. It was not a, “let’s remove one dictator and put our own dictator on the throne” march which apparently seem to be the goal of much of DJ20. I’m glad people are finally waking up again and trying to change policies which are destructive of this nation.

    Trump should have the wisdom to understand that many people don’t agree with his policies. These people are citizens of the US and he needs to hear what they are saying. He may not agree with them, but until he gives them an honest hearing instead of a dismissive tweet, he is acting like a jerk.

    These whole series of bizarre, self aggrandizing obsessions must end. He just pulled the US out of the TPP.
    That’s a good thing, something he might have in common with many of the people protesting yesterday.

      1. Steve,

        That is a very kind thing of you to say. It means a great deal to me.

        I’m glad you are here as well! Your posts are thoughtful and you exhibit truly good will towards others.

        Thanks,

        Jill

    1. The press secretary doesn’t bother me a whit. Having seen Trump for about 5-10 min. on one of his early Reality TV shows, I can barely manage to raise an eye-brow. I’d almost rather have someone as flamboyant as Trump who expresses his inadequacies openly (more or less) than someone like Obama who says all the right things with just the right tone all while he coolly orders a button pressed that will end the lives of people including civilians and children, based on an “algorithm”, some 6 thousand miles away. How far Trump will follow in Obama’s foot steps or even expand upon them using the precedence Obama has set for all future presidents is yet TBD.

      Trump’s speech to the CIA concerns me as I was hoping he would really clean house there. That place IS a swamp. Perhaps he still will but has a bit of a sloppy way of going about it, “I loooovvee you.”… 🙁

      At least there is the death of the TPP, and that is no small thing, but given the choices of those surrounding Trump, all assumptions, hopes and fears alike are provisional.

      1. Good post BB. I wouldn’t be too concerned with his CIA speech though. Have you seen the movie Twelve O’Clock High? It’s often used in Leadership courses to demonstrate the psychology behind various leadership styles. Trump would do well to follow the lead of Gen.Savage and I believe he is doing just that.

        1. Olly, as we get closer and closer to real policy choices, I suspect we will diverge considerably. Hope it doesn’t get in the way but however that may be, I’ve admired your ability stand back from the fray and your eloquence in expressing it. That may get hidden in my own pettiness, or in circumstances, but it won’t cease to exist.

          Back to the front, I’ll be hog tied if Trump has the sort of 11 dimensional wit, and more particularly the patience, about him that you are suggesting for the initial out lines of his portrait. But we’ll see. 🙂

      2. “I love you” will put them off guard… when Mike Pompeo gets there, they’ll start weeding out Brennan’s Partisans!!!

  8. Most of the marches did not have celebrities. About 4 million people turned out yesterday. 🙂 The crowds in the midwest were enormous.

    1. Wise up. A lot of this crap is just financially well-off white liberals who go to these marches for the same reasons other groups follow a certain band from venue to venue. It’s become a social event.

      “Oh, let’s go to the march and do some undefined good for society!”

      “Great, I’ll drive, and you can make some sandwiches! And tonight we can stop at that French restaurant, you know, the one with Chitluns Flambeau!

      “Sure! Hey, I’ve got a friend from work who doesn’t get out much? Can I invite her? She needs to start getting out there again to get past her divorce, and the recent loss of her cat, Mr. Meowski!

      “No! Bring her! Hey, I might ask Throckmorton III, from my yoga class to come. He’s single again now after his wife became a lesbian!

      etc. etc.etc.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  9. Im a conservative and I was shocked that this is how the new administration would use their first ‘press conference’, to talk about crowd size. He sounded angry and looked ridiculous, I thought. Also didnt care for Trumps speech at the CIA. I’ll admit I’m nervous about this administration and what they’re going to do. I had high hopes but that feeling is dwindling away. I so hoped for unity – looks like thats not even a remote possibility from either side.

  10. Here’s Madonna dropping F bombs & issuing a death threat to Trump on video. Women’s March.

    1. Madonna, the plastic surgeon should be disciplined and you voted for Hillary, a corrupted politician. Wish you would have voted for Jill.

      The question for you, Madonna, is ‘are you ready?’

      1. I’m acclimated to profanity. Army officers, bosses, men, women & children do it. It’s the roar of world. Peace be unto you.

    2. Ann Coulter summed it up in her tweet —

      White Women of Privilege March: “I Am Woman Hear Me Cuss!”

      1. Someone else said —

        “In one day Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.”

  11. To the casual observer, the press is trying to create a civil war. They are celebrating the riots and ugliness that is going on. You can’t trust anything that they say and they assume we’re stupid.

    Spicer’s little speech was weird and petty. It reflects his boss’s behavior. I view it as Spicer trying slamming the press for creating negativity for Trump supporters and creating more reason to riot for the opposition.

    I’m a libertarian, I didn’t want Clinton or Trump. I certainly didn’t want Obama for the last 8 years. Yet I gave Obama the benefit of the doubt his first couple of years in office and I was happy for his supporters.
    I will do the same for Trump. I would have done the same for Clinton (possibly needing to be medicated to accomplish that).

    As a libertarian, I see this as a media problem, not an administration problem. The last eight years was a white wash. It benefited me, I now know what official sources to go to to find out the truth.

    The media will go to any lengths to create division. Spicer’s just nipping it in the bud albeit, it was awkward.

    I’m an American and I want my president to do well. I what him to be wildly successful. I want my fellow citizens to thrive. The “press” is doing everything they can to prevent these things. Their socialism is showing.

    1. If an administration blatantly lies and it is caught on tape, it is the media’s problem for reporting it. What?

    2. Socialism? Most are corporate tools but maybe there will be a few that stand up to the Goldman government. Geez, one might think Trump is conducting a very long executive retreat at the whitehouse for Goldman execs and frackers.

  12. http://www.redstate.com/sweetie15/2017/01/21/trump-team-obsesses-reports-inauguration-crowd-size-attacks-media/ “Trump’s obsession with having everything made about him, and pumped up to be the biggest, grandest, and best, in order to protect his ego is not healthy – neither for the nation, or for him. This is only his first full day.

    If he can’t be trusted to keep his cool over the small things now – and this is a small thing – he’ll never make it four years without having some kind of breakdown.”

    1. BTW, In my opinion, the term “principled conservative” just means someone who is an ideologue and stuck on whatever stupid theory they believe in, as opposed to a “practical conservative”, who believes in things that actually work for a stable and orderly society.

      For example, a “principled conservative” would be all for Free Trade. But a “practical conservative” would say,
      “WTF? We got 40+million people out of work, and have lost much of our productive capacity? That looks like a failure of theory to me.”

      Ideologues do not usually have any conception that their pet theory can be wrong, and thus have never constructed an image of what a failure of their theory would look like. And thus, never recognize it when their theory fails. Another example are “principled liberals” who are unable to see the carnage they have wreaked in the inner cities. Or, a “principled Nazi” who still believed in Adolf Hitler, even as the buildings in Berlin were crumbling and Russian tanks were rumbling in the outskirts.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  13. Sean Spicer “We’re going to hold the press accountable.”

    Its going to be a long 8 years for the Hillary voters and Lying Media

  14. whatever it was it wasn’t sllck willie politico as usual and that is a step in the right direction. i doubt the news or the polls asked anyone who mattered. Both of them are still waaaayyyyy behind figuring out or accepteing what happened. The longer they take the better for the country. Madonna as the new spokes perSON of the left? Come on? What’s she going to do parade around in her underwear pretending to sing. At her age? Andrea Grande would be a better choice.

  15. From the get go the press was in the tank for Hilly so no matter who the GOP had as a candidate they were going to bash. They hate this guy because he continually hits back and 50% of the nation agrees with him. No matter what he does or says it’s going to be spun as bad.

    The woman’s march was a joke. Every one of those broads who was asked why they were there had a different answer. Some of them looked like a deer caught in a headlight when asked why are you here, they had no real answer. They are attacking Trump for equal pay, woman’s rights anything and everything. One of them even said I’m not here to protest Trump but for equal pay.

    As far as the Dems go they still don’t get it and when are all these celebrities leaving for wherever.

    1. Zambini — Where did you get your 50% number? Trump won 47% of the popular vote, less than what HRC won. But even if it is 50% who agree with him, this means that the other 50% do not. Trump did not win anything approaching a landslide election, certainly not in the popular vote and not in the electoral college vote. Trump ranks 46th out of 58 elections in terms of his electoral college margin.

      1. SS, You can juggle numbers all you want, did he win the election, that’s what counts.

      2. Plus many people stayed home because both candidates were unacceptable so you can add those to the numbers that did not support him.

    2. “50% of the nation agrees with him”

      I would argue that that percentage does NOT necessarily agree with him, many decided they disagreed with Hillary more. Also, many people did not vote or voted None of the Above.

      “only 60% of the country’s 232 million eligible voters actually voted this year.”.
      http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-voter-turnout-records-history-obama-clinton-2016-11

      So, if he got half of 60%, then only 30% possibly agreed with him.

      1. Yes! A President that can take such things into consideration though is rare. If, even in his own NY brassy way, Trump even comes close to that, I’ll be sincerely blown away. He is what he is and we put him there for a reason.

        But we, those of us so inclined, should not forget over the ups and downs of the next four years that a considerable part of this election was less “for” Trump than it was “against” HIllary as you suggest. That was my reason..

        How in the world we make that clear to the powers that be, the ones that choose our choices for us, in four years, however, is beyond me.

  16. Get ready for four years of lies, hopefully only four and by a stroke of good luck maybe less. Kelly Ann Conway mastered the blank face stare lie and dumb look when caught in a lie. Spicer is learning as well. If you want to be part of DDT’s America you need to be able to lie, but above all believe the lies. Like George Castanza said, ‘It’s not a lie, if you believe it.’ That’s the spooky part. DDT may even believe his lies.

    1. Hey assac, I asked you yesterday and I ask again is true the ducks fly over BC upside down because there’s nothing to crap on?

    2. Read this somewhere but it is worth remembering – The alt right administration brings you the alt fact.

    3. Issac: Give him time. Fascists always start slowly, but when the heads roll, our citizenry will submit to “total obedience to the United States of America.”

      It was so nice to see Hillary and Bill, looking regal by the way, at the inaugural. They’ve played such an important part in all of this. We’ll be forever in their debt.

      1. Regal? LMAO🤣. Willie couldn’t keep his Regal eyes off of Trumps wife and daughter.

      2. Steve re: “It was so nice to see Hillary and Bill, looking regal by the way, at the inaugural. They’ve played such an important part in all of this. We’ll be forever in their debt”

        Ouch! =).

    4. Agreed, this was so absurd, and not at all befitting the confidence that has been placed in them.

    5. http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trump-resistance-plan-step-one/ “The first step to resisting President-elect Trump is understanding how he and Kellyanne Conway deploy their “Three Ds” strategy: deflect, divert and distract.

      By Steven Harper | January 18, 2017

      Waiting for Trump’s America to reveal itself assures his victory and the republic’s loss, writes Steven Harper. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
      The king and his worthless adherents are got at their old game of dividing the continent, and there are not wanting among us, printers, who will be busy in spreading specious falsehoods…
      — Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

      When the victors write history, the resulting narrative often focuses on why things happened. Far more important to the contemporaneous participants is the question of how. Mounting an effective resistance requires understanding an adversary’s strategies. Donald Trump’s most effective delivery system is a duet: himself and Kellyanne Conway. Tracking a single example reveals their techniques.

      Strategy #1: Lie

      In the tradition of notorious “strongmen,” Trump promulgates Big Lies. These outrageous fictions are easier to sell because listeners can’t imagine the speaker would make them up. Since the election, one of Trump’s biggest has been his supposed “landslide” victory that gives him a mandate. The truth is that Trump’s percentage of the popular vote makes him a historic loser — close to Michael Dukakis in 1988. He ranks in the bottom quartile of Electoral College winners.

      Strategy #2: Repeat the Lie

      To reinforce the Big Lie, Trump and Conway use repetition to create a false reality. It has worked before. Thanks to Trump’s “birther” Big Lie, 72 percent of Republicans still have doubts about President Obama’s American citizenship. Here is a sample of the same technique in action on the “landslide” Big Lie:

      “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide…” — Trump tweet, Nov. 27, 2016

      “Landslide. Blowout. Historic.” — Conway tweet, Nov. 28, 2016

      “We had a massive landslide victory in the Electoral College, as you know…” — Trump’s interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Dec. 11, 2016
      More On trump resistance plan

      All independent fact-checking organizations have rated the “landslide” claim false.

      Strategy #3: Deflect, Divert and Distract

      After US intelligence agencies concluded unanimously that Trump’s tenuous victory had come with the aid of Vladimir Putin, he and Conway deployed their “Three Ds” strategy: deflect, divert and distract.

      — Trump deflection on Dec. 9: Mocking US intelligence findings, his transition team issued this terse statement: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

      No, they aren’t. Discussing Trump’s false assertion and the enormous changes to intelligence gathering and reporting since 2002, CIA chief John Brennan said, “It’s been light years since the WMD report.”

      — Conway deflection on Dec. 18: “The professional political left is attempting to foment a permanent opposition that is corrosive to our constitutional democracy and ignores what just happened in this election… The left is trying to delegitimize his election.”

      No. Republican stalwart Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are leading the charge to investigate Russia’s interference with the election.

      — Conway deflection and diversion on Dec. 18: In response to CBS News’ John Dickerson’s question about President Obama’s sanctions against Russia’s hacking, she said, “It does seem to be a political response at this point, because it seems like the president is under pressure from Team Hillary who can’t accept the election results.”

      No. Sens. McCain and Graham are among a bipartisan group complaining that President Obama’s sanctions were not sufficient.

      — Trump diversion and distraction on Dec. 31: “I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

      When asked what he knew that others did not, Trump added this cliffhanger: “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.” Trump’s big reveal never materialized.

      — Trump diversion on Jan. 3: “The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”

      Senior intelligence officials told NBC News the briefing was always set for Friday.

      — Trump deflection and diversion on Jan. 7: After receiving the intelligence briefing, Trump tweeted: “Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!”

      No. The report actually says: “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.” (Emphasis supplied)

      Trump’s “voting machine” red herring diverted attention from the report’s conclusion: Putin infected America’s body politic with a sophisticated cyberassault that included propaganda and the daily drip of Wikileaks materials hacked from Democrats’ computer systems.

      — Conway deflection on Jan. 8: “In terms of Russia…they did not succeed in throwing the election to Donald Trump. That’s very clear in this report…”

      No.

      Strategy #4: Bully and Intimidate

      If someone resists Trump’s Big Lies, he attacks.

      — Trump on Jan. 4: “@FoxNews: Julian Assange on US media coverage: ‘It’s very dishonest.’ #Hannity ‘More dishonest than anyone knows.’”

      The US intelligence report concluded that to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, Russian military intelligence used Julian Assange’s Wikileaks as the vehicle for releasing materials Russia had hacked from the DNC.

      — Trump on Jan. 8: “Kellyanne Conway went to @MeetThePress this morning for an interview with @chucktodd. Dishonest media cut out 9 of her 10 minutes. Terrible!”

      Network news shows editing guest spots is nothing new, especially guests who deflect, divert and distract.

      — Trump distraction on Jan. 9 (3:27 a.m.): After Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe acceptance speech alluding to Trump’s offensive behavior toward a disabled reporter, he tweeted, “Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood… Just more very dishonest media!”

      Strategy #5: Confuse

      All strategies morph into an overriding message: Trust Trump and no one else. Unless he blesses it, believe nothing that you see, hear, or read. Those who question the Great Man are unpatriotic, biased liars. The playground bully has become the school principal.

      Already exhausted from an ugly campaign, Americans get dizzy on Trump’s accelerating merry-go-round. The faster it goes, the more difficult to get your bearings. When your head is spinning, it’s impossible to keep your eye on the ball.

      Future installments in this series will suggest ways to defeat Trump’s assault. I invite readers to share their ideas. Here’s a modest beginning:

      TRP Strategy #1: Disconnect from Trump

      Unfollow him. Starve him of attention. Drive down his ratings. When he or his minions appear on TV, change the channel.

      Take a cue from the entertainment industry: Boycott the Inauguration — unless you’re there to protest peacefully. Everyone else should resist the universal human temptation to watch a train wreck unfold. Tell everyone you know to do likewise. Low ratings will send a message. With his ever-changing stories and grandiose plans, missing his speech won’t mean missing anything that matters. If he can’t reach you, he can’t confuse you.

      TRP Strategy #2: Seek the Truth

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      Some citizens weary of partisan bickering view the unprecedented controversies swirling around Trump as more of the same. They prefer to disengage from everything. It’s tempting. But even leading Republicans agree that Trump is different — and not in a good way. An unwillingness to seek the truth allows purveyors of falsehoods to prevail. Facts know no party lines and ignorance is no friend of democracy.

      So after Trump takes office, follow this general rule: Keep close tabs on what Trump does to America and the world, but rely on news source(s) that will rigorously fact-check his every utterance. Follow only credible outlets that are willing to call out a Trump lie when they encounter one. Avoid those that repeat his falsehoods as if they were true, or give his minions a platform for lies and the “Three Ds.”

      Apply that standard to me. My columns link every factual assertion to a sourced reference. I invite scrutiny.

      TRP Strategy #3: Fight Back

      Boycott and tweet out the companies sponsoring irresponsible platforms, so they are held accountable for their actions. Take a look at Sleeping Giants. It provides a do-it-yourself approach to influencing companies that advertise on “hate news” sites. Most of the businesses you challenge will be grateful to hear from you because a computer algorithm chooses their ad sites. Literally, these companies don’t know what they’re doing. The strategy works for “fake news,” too.

      Throughout the campaign, Trump’s strategies produced ratings that were a media bonanza. Not any more. Remember that your time and your clicks translate into money for media outlets.

      For eight years, American colonists fought to win freedom from Great Britain. Every citizen has a duty to preserve and protect it.

      1. “For eight years, American colonists fought to win freedom from Great Britain. Every citizen has a duty to preserve and protect it.”

        Now all of a sudden you want us to believe you are interested in this republic? Where were you principled patriots during the last 8 years?

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