[Translated from GegenStandpunt 3-18]
Some more lessons from Trump’s America about democracy
I. Trump and his media
The struggle against the established media
and for the establishment of a new one
1.“The fake news media is the enemy of the American people” (D. Trump, about once a week) – he means the “failing” New York Times, “Amazon” Washington Post, “fake news” CNN, as well as a few other organs of the established media in the USA. The rightful struggle against them has been led for two years by the supreme representative of the people. Their offense: They do not want to acknowledge, certainly not as a fixed premise of their reporting and criticism, that Trump is right, that Trump fits the bill – the greatest election winner and president of all time. They spread lies and even work with Trump’s many political rivals to overthrow the President. So they deserve bashing – morally bankrupt as they already are, they should go under. Although Trump leaves their constitutional freedom untouched, he repeatedly asserts his right to impose certain restrictions. In any case, he denies their competence and legitimacy as credible sources of information and respectable opinion, and thus their status as qualified representatives of the citizens’ right to an accountable leadership. He restricts their usual official ‘access’ to the corridors of power, their daily insight into the motives and background of the government’s activities.
Trump has significantly upgraded other media organs. As a positive counterpart to the ‘fake news’ of the others, Fox News – the propaganda organ of the Republican Party with the impartial (now dropped) slogan “fair and balanced” and always the most successful news channel in the USA – is regularly showered with praise: “Fox gets it!” The chief grants unprecedented access to some on the Fox News team and considerable influence in how he conveys his governance and attacks his opponents: Sean Hannity, currently the most popular host at the network, apparently calls his friend Donald several times a week – something that is often readily and completely wrongly confused with a decisive influence on Trump’s politics. Experts on the subject notice striking similarities between remarks on the Fox morning magazine (“Fox & Friends”) and subsequent tweets from the White House, as well as conspicuous direct addresses to the President, who is groomed by the show’s moderators – knowing full well how attentively the fan in the Oval Office watches. They thank him for the interviews he grants almost exclusively to Fox journalists with appropriately sympathetic questions, suggested answers and subservient chumminess. In addition, various right-wing radicals on the internet who see Trump as their man, as well as a few conspiracy theorists on the right-wing fringe, enjoy an official recognition that they probably never expected.  Finally, Trump made the former head of the right-wing radical Breitbart News Network, Steve Bannon, his ‘campaign manager’ in the final spurt of the election campaign and then chief advisor in the White House; he was then really allowed – at least for half a year – to influence official policies.
But Trump really prefers to simply bypass all the media professionals, hostile as well as friendly. So he can at any time directly, hence without distortion, tweet to his people – a kind of closeness between ruler and subject that only the great world of the internet offers. Trump’s way of expressing himself there also absolutely conforms to the discursive habits of the internet community: even in his new career as chief of the superpower, Trump cultivates the habits and word choices of a private person surfing the net who speaks suitably freely and straight from the heart to the like-minded and quite rudely and vulgarly to their community’s opponents. The short format is more than enough – for Trump's ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, thus for the declarations of friendship and especially hostility to opponents that make this such a closed community in the first place. On the other hand: Trump in his personal delight in messaging does not give up a whit of the claims of the political authority that award him the highest office in the state. When he speaks to his followers and his people from equal to equal, it is always with grand announcements and claims that come from the very top. So Trump, with his open-hearted autocratic manner and his cell phone, carries to an extreme the cynical nature of the democratically highly respectable strategy called ‘closeness to the people’ – and sums it up: a closeness that is completely based on a relationship of rule that is turned into a mere question of distance. This distance is in fact never overcome by twitter-like communicative bridging, but does create a level on which sympathy can flourish – for the political measures and guidelines that are constantly being put up for discussion, but are not to be called into question for a second.
2. All this makes it abundantly clear that what Trump demands from the press is exactly what he is constantly accused of: pure propaganda. And in the most beautiful form for the ruler – as a free act of an independent authority which neither lies nor agrees with the president on every point, but must clearly stand behind him, because and so that the people do. Daily journalistic strengthening of the most powerful man in the state – this is the clear assignment from the White House.
This may be good for a lot of indignation – but it’s not misconduct. Because Trump’s unique demeanor provides a clarification of universal value, namely about the relationship between politics and the press in democracy: the much vaunted ‘fourth estate’, its status as a quasi-component of state power on behalf of the governed people, is and remains one that is sovereignly approved. The respect that the press insists on is based on its subordination – after all, not just anyone is allowing itself to be critically questioned here, but a ruling power. This authorization is therefore subject to a condition which is imposed on the unofficial, fourth estate by the official, authorizing power – and the condition in turn includes a sovereign assignment that the press must fulfill: Its criticism has to be constructive, which might go without saying for a modern and responsible democratic press, but which does not at all go without saying. After all, this means the universal obligation of critics to submit suggestions for improvement to the rule, which at the same time is the main subject matter and generally the whole reason for its critical ethos as guardian of the people in relation to the power-holders. In its critical insistence on the approvability of the politicians, the press has to make an outstanding contribution to the approval of the people – it is only appropriate that the rule itself decides on adherence to the condition and fulfillment of the assignment. It is nothing but this general truth about the relationship between the democratic rule and the democratic press that Trump sums up in his particularly blunt way: The people’s approval of the rule – from the standpoint of rule, that’s the effect media institutions should always have when they freely report and criticize – is what Trump demands from the press as its own doing; it should set an example in the approval it is supposed to generate among the people, and indeed of him personally. Otherwise, as said, its working basis will be taken away from it, and its usual access to the main policy makers restricted.
This is a great scandal for the press, and also a heavy blow for the affected press organs, because they – as they loudly report – make a living from this privileged interaction with the most powerful people in the country. That too does not go without saying, even if it apparently does go without saying. In any case, this gives a rather clear insight into the self-image of the established, “serious” media: it may well go around in the awareness that it faces a ruling force whose exercise of power it evaluates and impartially and incorruptibly objectively, ‘inconveniently’ criticizes. Yet that alone would obviously mean far too much distance from the powerful from those whose doings the people of the press report and comment on; such a downgrading to mere opinion would be tantamount to a condemnation to irrelevance, which contradicts their whole self-image and business requirements as authorities of responsible democratic journalism. If, with all their objective reporting and their distanced criticism of those in power, they build themselves up as representatives of the right of the citizens to truth, they are really concerned with the closeness between above and below which the politicians merely cultivate in a more or less refined way. They want to mediate between the rule and the people in whose name it rules, to bring politics closer to the people and vice versa – the citizens should be able to show understanding for the deeds of the rule, and the rule should be able to show understanding for the situation of those affected. Between both sides, the professionals of the public therefore intervene as the authority that makes this relationship of subordination into a mediation relationship in the first place. And that’s also what the various journalistic providers compete for – to better, faster, more comprehensively and reliably meet the demand for this mediation on both sides: they do their business with a representative dialog between power-holders and their subjects, the more direct the better, so they must remain in the most direct and comprehensive possible exchange with the politically powerful who create the material for this dialog with their guidelines. This then also determines the view of the agents of the democratic public about the rule: since it grants the press access, regularly gives an account of governing, respects its important status and its criticism – usually by dealing with a critical press in a respectful, privileged way when rejecting its criticism – submission in this sense no longer exists. If the elected leadership is regularly questioned by critics from a service, then they stand in the service of the public, as contractor of the contracting people, who have a competent advisor and representative in the press which always keeps a close eye on the empowered contractors.
No wonder that the much maligned media doesn’t know what to do with Trump’s clarification, that they see a serious threat in this ruler who doesn’t want to hear anything about this type of conditionality on his authority and his right to approval. And certainly not a threat just to their own business, but for the beautiful system of popular rule in general, which supposedly depends entirely on them. Yet the press is not fired by Trump; on the contrary: it is this very president who takes the function of the free press in a democracy very seriously; with all his polemics against it, he insists – as said – that it fulfill its assignment, that it approve his person as leader of the people.  And precisely with his tenacity on this question, the current media fear clearly turns the fundamental ideal of the journalistic business upside down: it is not the free media that decides on the legitimacy of the rule that grants them their freedom, but vice versa. They have an affirmative function for power when they confront it with a relationship of critical commentary and admonishment. With all their critical self-understanding, they are the smart-ass servants of power.
3. For his demands and his hostility toward the established media, which he also uses at every opportunity, Trump has a strong – because officially valid – democratic argument on his side: the voice of the people. The extent to which this voice is calling for Trump has recently been proved by the election; the press has already proved how little it wants to hear this voice with its certainty that Trump would never win, then even more with its constant whining about his activities, his manner, his past, etc., although the people demonstrably love him. To the criticized critics, it may seem like nothing more than appalling arrogance for Trump to claim, precisely in his fight against the journalistic representatives of the people, that he is putting into practice the will of this very people by referring to his electoral victory. Yet no other binding vocalization is provided to the people in democracy. And he really didn’t invent the art of speaking in the heart of the capital as an elected boss for ‘the American people’, ‘the heartland’ or the ‘silent majority’ who are not given enough of a voice by a critical and scandalous press.
The vehemence with which Trump insists on approval from the press has a political reason and content beyond his notorious vanity: Trump is certain that when a people speaks, the American people even more so, it actually always sounds the call for a strong leader. People need leadership that asserts itself, that does not put up with objective constraints or dependencies or foreign claims of any sort, and certainly not the insolence of domestic critics. And this is a need that a responsible democratic press, despite all its demonstrative aversion to authoritarian figures, not only knows very well, but also recognizes. This is exactly what the US press proves, by the way, when it measures Trump according to exactly this criterion of strong leadership and gives out bad grades: too sensitive to criticism, not sovereign, isolated abroad, perhaps even compromised; in other words: an extremely weak man at the top – which, of course, makes the media even more susceptible to the hostility of the boss. In doing so, they are failing their whole mission: to contribute to his strength.II. The right-wing counter-public and their Trump
It may be a historic irony that Donald Trump, former reality TV star, long-time darling of the established media and reliable quota guarantee for their sensationalism division, now appears as their worst and most powerful enemy, but in substance is perfectly okay. The right-wing movement that brought him to power has always seen itself as a counter-public, as a defender of the true popular sentiment against the mainstream media: “The [established] media are our true opposition.” (Steve Bannon, shortly after Trump’s election victory, still in his position as chief advisor). They celebrate the fact that Trump has made the slogan of this movement into his program as their victory over their main enemy.
1. The right-wing counter-public’s verdict about the established media is simple: it makes the nation weak. The weakness that is lamented is of a kind that only the American superpower could suffer from: the inability to seamlessly impose America’s will on the rest of the world of states and thereby set free its own business world in such a way that it generates profit figures for the companies, a surplus for the national budget and lots of jobs, while welfare cases are no longer annoying because they don’t cost too much. It deals in a patriotic self-confidence that is completely berserk, that is, one thoroughly worthy of the superpower: a love for the nation that stands for the triad of unrivaled display of military power against an obedient world of states, first-class business success for some and a livelihood along with hard work for others. And all this is idealized into the expression of a great human race that is born free, thus for capitalistic and imperialistic success. The very small, logical step from this high patriotic self-image to sharp self-criticism of the nation’s situation is that wherever this nation shows weakness, the typically strong American will has obviously been weakened. The blame for this is, of course, first and foremost those at the top: weak politicians, for the most part in the Democratic Party, who show too much consideration for friends and enemies outside its borders, who are too negligent of the vested rights of some inside them, and too suspicious of the freedom of others, the entrepreneurs. But the problem goes much deeper: the morale of the people is obviously in a bad way when it hoists such weak politicians into office and does not even turn its back on them when they undermine the strength of the nation.
And other signs of a fateful abandonment of a traditional attitude of political, economic and moral strength pile up in the country. So the misconduct of the authorities responsible for that is in the crosshairs: the authorities of the democratic public sphere. It is taken for granted that they are something like authorities with a quasi-sovereign function in terms of correct thinking and living. The exercise of their freedom to make money with information, commentary and entertainment has to therefore lead to an attitude that the nation needs for its strength. In this respect, a rather broad delusion about the role and power of these institutions within the democratic power structure is fostered. For these right-wingers, the media is much more than what it is – the sphere in which politics and the competitive society it governs are indeed legitimated, but certainly not determined. To say it with Andrew Breitbart, founding father of Breitbart News: “Politics is downstream from culture” (meaning: he who dominates culture dominates politics). For these moralists, the sphere in which the people, at all levels, form their attitude towards the state and capitalist competition is the very basis of all politics itself. In the space where the people let off steam intellectually and form their opinions, they themselves decide what becomes of a nation in the material world of competition – and the whole world of capitalism and imperialism becomes a single ‘clash of cultures.’ Anyone who wants to change the American nation for its capitalistic and imperialistic best must therefore free the American people from their intellectual abductors and deliver them back to themselves.
The corrupters of the people are to be found in the academy and among the intellectuals, but much worse than these potential threats, who for the most part stay in their ivory towers, is the so-called “mainstream liberal media.” Hollywood and especially the country’s established press – the propaganda agency of the Democratic Party – promote a politics of weakness by promoting a morality of weakness that undermines the strong people within. They cultivate too much critical distance from the nation’s wars and the social consequences of competition, too much recognition for various minorities as victims of the American way of life who are therefore able to claim special respect and a certain special treatment, and too much openness to, or even support for, deviations from the ‘family values’ that have made the nation so strong. In all these fields which are so crucial to the life and prosperity of the nation, the greatness as well as the necessary costs of freedom which honorable citizens pay voluntarily are downplayed: the exemplary sacrifices of worldwide military assertion, of self-reliant coping with the hardships of competition which are merely the tough downside of the wonderful opportunities of the market, and of a family life which requires not the despicable egoism of one’s own preferences but – the God who blesses America has commanded it – a sense of duty. Even worse from the standpoint of these right-wingers is the idea that the true realization of freedom which is promised to all citizens according to the constitution and really makes the country so great should be the recognition of deviant attitudes and ways of life. So it is an historic irony that ‘liberalism’ is used as an insult by the right-wing citizens of a country where freedom is celebrated like nowhere else and elevated to a national morality – for the immoral and dangerous swamp that is spreading in the nation thanks to the degenerate media landscape.
2. The cultural struggle against the established, ‘liberal’ media led by the activists of the right-wing counter-public has been going on for more than thirty years now, and literally on all channels. They have done so from the outset in the certainty that they must also make use of new channels in order to bypass the established media. Not only in that, but also in their presentation, this counter-public is strongly reminiscent of the habits known from the ‘new media’ of the internet. And they offer – to say the least – a wonderful example of the harmony of nationalism and love of free speech. So a few historical stages of this ascent.
a) In the late 1980s – after a loosening of US broadcasting laws whereby political broadcasters were no longer required to maintain a certain balance of opinions – a radio frequency that had gone out of fashion was revived to address a commuter audience, i.e. people sitting in traffic jams for hours every day, in their need for strong leadership and strong morality. Rush Limbaugh, who is considered the godfather of conservative talk radio and the right-wing counter-public in general, quickly became the most popular talker in a genre that became increasingly popular in his wake. He began his shows by attacking skeptics of the first American Gulf War and advocates for special treatment of women and minorities in the competition for education and professions. And because it’s about asserting a valid, primeval American set of principles, Limbaugh and his associates immediately afterwards dispensed with arguing in any true sense against their opponents and in favor of the downsides that the beautiful American system simply brings with it. They offer rather a self-conscious demonstration of a righteous attitude – done the way it’s always done in a vibrant democracy: exposing one’s opponents who claim morality for themselves and their point of view as hypocrites. A small sample of this extremely popular technique in democracy: Those who doubt the sense, purpose and benefit of the American wars that our good Republican presidents have considered necessary act as if they are angels of peace, but only betray our brave boys over in the desert; he, not the Commander-in-Chief, lets others fight and die for him and doesn’t even acknowledge the sacrifice. Whoever complains about the drastic social situation of the poor, especially among minorities, or speaks out for expanding social welfare or special treatment for them, portrays himself as a Mother Teresa but only betrays hard-working Americans with or without a job who make sacrifices every day in keeping with the principle of ‘self-reliance’ and don’t complain; he, not some greedy entrepreneur or stingy statesman, exploits the people and lets himself be fed by other, tax-paying Americans. Just how much one stands on the side of the good American morality can best be shown by the moral corruption of the moral apostles of the opposite side – which is why the sexual escapades and shadiness of the ‘liberal’ chief executive Bill Clinton still provided enough material for at least a decade of broadcasting time.
The whole thing is performed with loud master strokes in the genre of “I’m entitled to my opinion, aren’t I?,” as a struggle for a suppressed truth against unpatriotic thought prohibitions by liberal dictators. The feeling of oppression does not come out of nowhere – and is only partly owed to the fact that these right-wingers understand the freedom promised by the constitution as the license to cultivate precisely the time-honored convictions and customs which, in their estimation, make the nation so free in its business and violent dealings with the rest of the world. The other part is owed to the way in which the ‘liberalization’ of national morality in the democratic public sphere has actually been carried out, namely in the form of lots of rules and regulations regarding respect for minorities, deviants and victims. In opposition to this way of imposing a national sense of community, firmly established in modern democracies, by prescribing hypocrisy between rights-conscious competitors – also known as ‘political correctness’– right-wing talkers set a hypocritical stylistic device of their own: ‘breaking taboos.’ So they present the nationalistic bigotry, moral narrow-mindedness and fanaticism of competition as courageous loyalty to principles in the face of a totalitarian prohibition on saying how things really are.
Above all, the repetitive daily exposing and accusing of the indecency and hypocrisy of ‘liberal’ prigs proves above all what a virtuous figure the accuser is. A nice circle of virtuous person and exemplary attitude in the form of a public opinion personality: the ruthless demonstration of one’s own right-wing attitude raises the credibility of the person above all doubt; conversely, the credibility of the person proves the exemplariness of the demonstratively cultivated right-wing attitude, hence also the truth of everything that the credible holder of the attitude says. The listeners are also invited to participate in this event; they can call the radio station and publicly put in their personal two cents – an opportunity they usually use to stage themselves as fanatical followers, to agree with the talker-in-chief and each other in turn. Incidentally, for the listeners/callers of the Rush Limbaugh show, this takes the time-saving form of simply shouting “ditto!” into the phone, calling themselves “dittoheads” and – taking advantage of the beautiful double meaning offered by the English language – having the motto “Rush is right” printed on T-shirts and bumper stickers. An analogous model for the famous-infamous ‘echo chambers’ of the internet: That’s where self-confident, opinionated citizens who can’t be fooled or dictated to come together to form a moral community around a strong opinion leader who shouts to them every day what they mutually confirm to each other.
b) It’s not over with this mobile echo chamber – not just because a politically ambitious moneybag named Rupert Murdoch in the mid-1990s took up the task of conquering ‘cable news’, previously dominated by CNN, for the right. The offer of a strict morality of strength and hostility to doubts about the nation’s military assertiveness is exactly the thing a nation obviously needs in a global war. In this spirit, after September 11, Fox News took the lead for the general patriotic resurgence in the wake of the worldwide ‘war on terror’ and the country’s massive domestic rearmament – and, using all the above-mentioned means and methods of conservative talk radio, became the country’s most popular news channel, thus an extremely heavy counterweight and thorn in the side of the established media. And even when the enemy’s candidate conquered the White House, Fox continued to expand its lead in the essential battleground of public opinion under the hated Obama. Hated because he embodied in his entire foreign and domestic policy, his character and his rhetoric, the self-weakening that is ruining the nation: ashamed of America’s power in the world, despising the freedom of competition, acting like an intellectual and disregarding the hard-working majority in favor of minorities, which he also embodied in his person. For American patriots, this raised the question of whether the black man in the White House is even an American. One is entitled to that opinion too.
c) With a concentration on the suspect character of those in power, another faction of the right-wing alternative media – on the internet, the perfect medium for the mission to be free from the domination of ‘liberal media’ – celebrated its special triumph. The rise of this faction had already begun when Fox was preparing its campaign to conquer television: here resourceful right-wing activists began exploiting the freedoms and possibilities of the internet to pursue an autonomous journalistic program with a great deal of revolutionary self-confidence.
The successful start was made by a certain Matt Drudge, who has also been promoted to a godfather of the right-wing media warriors, with a so-called news aggregator called Drudge Report. He supplies his online subscribers with his own collection of reports published daily by other media outlets, gathered according to his own criteria and delivered daily. This was technologically new for its time, but the goal could not have been more traditional. Since this is already the first core business of democratic journalism, which here mixes up everything from the tabloids to the stock exchange newspapers: the sorting and selecting of the many ‘topics’ that the state and the society it rules puts on the agenda in light of its self-ascribed responsibility to form the opinions of its readers. In this case, sorting them into important and unimportant – this is also quite traditional – strictly according to the need of decent patriots for strong leadership by decent leaders. And in line with this need, the website created a real uproar with another journalistic core business, namely the uncovering of scandals or the scandal of the decade – the so-called Lewinsky affair. One snoops around and rides on the reports of other snoopers long enough until the established media, in the interest of its own role as mediator, could no longer avoid putting the topic right at the top of its agenda, and did that for several years. This shining moment of journalistic investigation gave the right-wing activists of the counter-public a great proof – beyond re-affirming the moral depravity of the Democrats: proof of the power of ‘alternative’ media to push ahead of the established organs, to force them to pursue their own business more consistently. By directly addressing an interested community of readers which can’t be ignored because of their sheer number, one manages to decisively influence the topics offered by the established press and thus the subjects of public opinion forming or political-moral agitation – which quite prominently includes the decency of the rulers, the greatest right of democratic subjects.
This art of setting topics ‘from below’ and by means of the internet, thus of making ‘news’ that should aid the people in forming their patriotic opinions, really revived under the Obama presidency thanks in large part to the achievements of Breitbart News – a right-wing website that became famous after its editor-in-chief Steve Bannon’s rise to Trump’s chief consultant. ‘Breitbart’s’ business thereby achieved a smaller and a larger advance over its competitors and predecessors. The smaller advance concerns the method: one goes over to unstintingly as well as openly inventing scandalous events and – with the more or less organized mobilization of an entire army of ‘trolls’ on the internet – riding on them until the respective stories are refuted, but then irretrievably ‘in the world’, thus freely available for the reinforcement of pre-existing images of the enemy – e.g. quite prominently with the finding that Obama is actually not an American but a Kenyan Muslim. In the words of Breitbart/Bannon/the entire modern social sciences: “The narrative is everything.” The greater progress concerns the goal: Here it is no longer just a matter of destroying the ‘liberal’ Democrats and their intellectual supporters and accomplices in favor of the other party, the Republicans, but a struggle of strong-minded right-wing citizens against the entire party landscape, scorned as the ‘establishment’ – thus also against Republicans who, it is said, always bring themselves to merely make rotten compromises with the godless Democrats. With the proven power of autonomous media, the objective is to grasp the real power in the country from the commanding heights of culture: One diligently uses the proven methods to support a ‘Tea Party revolution’  for a few years and thus promote a staunch right-wing faction of the Republicans into the mainstream until one then finds the right man for the job in Donald Trump over the course of the 2016 election campaign: he indeed captivates these right-wingers with his firm nationalist go-for-it point of view which is later summarized in the slogan “America first!”, but above all with his willingness to disregard all conventions and unwritten rules of the party competition and dealings with the media and to rhetorically blast political rivals, Republicans as well as Democrats, and the ‘liberal media’ who ridicule him. He proved this years earlier with his own activism in the right-wing counter-public: he took the lead early on – this is the start of his political career – in doubting Obama’s citizenship and never really let up, not even after Fox News had no more time for the rumor. That they had found the right man in Trump to put an end to the national moral self-weakening by putting an end to the opinion and behavior corsets imposed by the liberals was finally proved by the success of his election campaign, which he stylized into an explicit fight against the political and journalistic establishment. In him the beloved people apparently also found the right man.
The whole thing is also a reason for the widespread rumor in America that Trump – at least at the beginning of his administration – would in the end be nothing but the unsuspecting, if high-handed, vehicle, even puppet, of sinister intellectual backers who want to conquer power in the country from the public. This is the view of Steve Bannon himself, who, with his right-wing program and the power of the media, is now preparing to make Europe’s rightists his adepts. In his view, Trump is really only a powerful means, an ‘avatar’ for a ‘clash of cultures’ in which the rulers of right-wing culture are calling the shots. The truth about the relationship between Trump and this public is, however, almost exactly the other way around: Trump has his means in the various organs and activists of the right-wing public sphere to have the power of the media work for him from the real commanding heights, as mediator of programs he prescribes to the nation. So far everything still has its order in American democracy.Footnotes
 For example, the website “Info-Wars” by Alex Jones, who has become the most ardent defender of Trump on the internet. According to Jones, the World Trade Center was blown up by the US government and the killing spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School was staged by gun control advocates inside and outside the government; Hillary Clinton also leads a child prostitution ring and Trump is threatened by a “deep state” of Democrats/communists, not least in the intelligence services. Jones on Trump: “What you do is epic – you’re on the level of George Washington.” Trump on Jones: “Your reputation is amazing.”
 This is also the reason for Trump’s notorious insistence on what his Counselor at some point dubbed ‘alternative facts’ – for example, the number of people at his inauguration. Trump does not simply ignore the democratic media, whose activities he is rather obsessively preoccupied with, but insists on the correct results of their ‘reporting.’
 See the article “The New Tea Party: A Second American Revolution to Restore the Health of the ‘Land of the Free’”