I just spent a week in the US based in Camarillo, 55 miles north of LAX. This, of course, makes me a political expert but over the past seven days there did seem to a major shift in the American media's treatment of Donald Trump.
At the beginning of the week except for MSNBC, the most liberal TV network in America, Trump could do no wrong. By the end the tenor had distinctly changed.
One major cause was the lead article in USA Today, the widest circulated print newspaper in the United States. The paper can best be described as a series of terse articles. On Thursday 6 June it led with headline, Litigator-in-Chief and gave most of the front page and all the back page to a story on how so far in the past three decades Trump had been involved in 3,500 cases at the state and Federal level. By way of comparison, USA Today analysed the legal involvements of five other top real estate executives. The paper found that Trump had been involve in more legal skirmishes that all five of the other developers - combined. The paper described the 3,500 number as extraordinary.
One of major sources of lawsuits are former students of the now collapsed Trump University. Trump then published three letters from students saying the courses and university had been excellent. The next day all the media carried a live interview with one of the former students saying that he retracted the recommendation, Trump University had cost him $45,000 which he was still paying off, that course had turned out to have been useless and he had been gullible when he gave the recommendation believing that if he did the Trump organisation would hire him.
On Thursday night Hilary Clinton then gave what was meant to be a foreign policy speech which instead turned out to be an unbelievable attack on Trump. One great quote, repeated widely, was that Trump thinks he is an expert in foreign policy because he ran a Miss Universe contest in Russia. She also said that Trump would be vicious in his tweets post her speech. Trump did not disappoint but the media has started swinging behind Clinton openly now describing Trump as too thin-skinned and too much a racist to be President while Clinton now is being described in much more favourable terms..
Then this week Trump unloaded in a 12 minute rant on the judge deciding the Trump University case as a biased "Mexican" who should recuse himself. In fact the judge is an American who has refused dismiss the case despite Trump's demands. He has agreed to delay the case until after the election but this is not good enough for Trump.
The straw that may have broke the camel's back may in fact happened earlier this week. Besides attacking judges and his opponents, Trump has also been regularly attacking the press. Politicians attacking the media has been occurring for hundreds of years. However Trump has been taking it to a new level in the USA where Freedom of the Press is constitutionally guaranteed. On Tuesday he was asked by the media if indeed he had brought in $6million (including $1 million from himself) for veterans as he claimed when he did not participate in a debate in the Nebraska Primary last January but instead held a rally. Again Trump completely lost his cool, saying the all the press in total were the most dishonest people he had ever met. Again what probably caused the breakdown was the constant pressure from the Washington Post to see proof of the $1million contribution which was only presented on the same day.
Trump loves being in the limelight and up till now the media has been relatively favourable regarding him as good source of copy which generates revenue. However he is coming under increasing scrutiny as you would expect and it is clear he does not like it. He is revealing he has a hair-trigger temper and unable to control himself. As the autocratic leader of a business empire this is perhaps acceptable, but as leader of the most powerful military nation on the planet?
The funniest line I read in the last week suggested Trump is campaigning in the wrong country. Instead the journalist argued he should be campaigning in North Korea where this week the state controlled newspaper said it much preferred the "wise" Trump to the "dull" Hilary.
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