President Donald Trump and the American media had a love-hate relationship for a long time before Trump descended the Trump Tower escalator and announced his candidacy to become the forty-fifth president of the United States. Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for the White House turned this love-hate relation into all-out war by the media against Trump. In Unmasked, Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham say that, in 2016, the media’s new narrative was more an unequivocal declaration: Donald must not win.
Discussing the reaction of Trump to media’s new narrative, Bozell and Graham say that it was clear from the start that Trump was itching for a fight with the media. He was all set to put the entire profession on trial in the court of public opinion, and he did that by introducing two words that within a year became part of political lexicon — “fake news.” The media were not expecting that kind of reaction. They were aghast that they would be so rudely challenged. Bozell and Tim Graham write, “It was certainly unfair to paint an entire institution with this broad, ugly brush. But then Trump unmasked one truly fake news story after another, the self-righteous press met the evidence with stony silence. The institution was guilty of aiding and abetting fake news. It still is.”
According to Bozell and Graham, the problem is that journalists don’t just report the news. Bozell and Graham write, “They think they are the smartest people in the room, so they grant themselves license to package it and analyze it with an intelligence only they seem to possess. They profess to believe in the power of facts, but what they really believe in is their power to proclaim facts. Facts exist to be bent to their will to further their narrative.” Bozell and Graham say that the smartest people in the room believe their thumbs are pressed firmly on the pulse of the American public, but their world extends only across a tract of land along the Manhattan –Washington, DC, corridor, along with some real estate in Beverly hills. They are clueless as to the mood of an electorate in the real America that has lost its patience with the elites both in an out of government.
Discussing Trump’s election strategy that opened the gates of the White House for him, Bozell and Graham say that the ruling class is a fraternity whose membership includes those in a position of power over a population it views as less able — to handle its own affairs. The ruling class has no party affiliation. On the other side of the coin is the country class with its desire to get rid of inept rulers. Trump fundamentally understands the divide and he chose to champion the country class. That pit him against virtually all levels of power in America.
Bozell and Graham argue that when Trump’s coverage is regularly in the 90 percent negative range, you can conclude that just about everyone in the media qualifies to be a Trump-basher except for conservative periodicals and radio talk shows, Internet and blog sites and television outlets. Yet on these platforms, you will find Never Trumper candidates such a Shepherd Smith. They write, “Amid the rabble, there are some real standouts. This list is subjective but reflects those whose minds go into spontaneous combustion mode at the mere thought of Trump as their commander in chief.” These ten top Trump-bashers include MSNBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Brian Shelter, Univision’s Jorge Ramos, Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Every late-night talk-show host, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Unmasked is a timely and necessary addition to the existing literature on current American politics and the war of words between President Trump and his bashers in the media. It is an amazingly insightful work of hard research that gives us a close peek into the conflict between President Trump and the American media. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham discuss the evolution of the relations between President Trump and the American media. They meticulously explain the factors that led to the media’s total war on President Trump. They also explain why President Trump’s political strategy is succeeding despite the media hostility. It is a must-read if you are interested in current American politics and want to understand how the mainstream media functions.