A recent opinion piece in the New York Times — “The Failures of Anti-Tumpism” — makes a curious point. There have been billions of words by the anti-Trumpers, denouncing him for everything and anything in the most derogatory terms imaginable. And yet to date it’s had virtually no affect in persuading anybody. As the article points out, Trump started out with about a 40% favorable rating, and has pretty much maintained that to this day.
Which is a curious phenomenon. For in 50 years of following presidential politics I have never seen anywhere near the level of vitriol poured on Trump by the media (the only thing remotely similar was Nixon in the last days of Watergate when everyone was piling on but that was only for a period of months).
Of course that doesn’t rule out that the demise of Trump — endlessly predicted since the first day he announced his candidacy — won’t eventually happen. He could yet get ensnared in some scandal or criminal behavior and some overwhelming media onslaught that he can’t wriggle his ass out of. But its curious — if not downright amazing — considering the constant onslaught he’s already endured.
While its too early to dub Trump, like Reagan, the “Teflon President” (one well-aimed bullet could yet pierce his armor) I do find it curious that the media’s almost universal disdain for Trump (not one single prominent newspaper endorsed Trump) has had so little affect in changing anybody’ mind.
The only explanation I can come up with is that Trump — by virtue of his long history as a player within all the many different fields of media (books, magazines, television, entertainment, even professional football) knows how to play the media game just as well — if not better — than all of his detractors in the media.