US Media Should Shut Up and Listen to Trump and Sanders

by Diane Francis

Diane Francis: Trump adviser’s suggestion that the media should ‘shut up and listen’ is good advice

Diane Francis | January 27, 2017 4:20 PM ET
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U.S. President Donald Trump.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty ImagesU.S. President Donald Trump.
It’s Week Two of the Trump Revolution and the tally is 10 for the President, 0 for the Democrats, 0 for the Republicans and 0 for the mainstream media.

He’s winning because he has circumvented the political elites and media elite and firmly controls the political process.

Already, the Republican orthodoxy has been bypassed as a result of a flurry of executive orders and the Democrats have mounted no effective opposition to his advisor and cabinet picks.

As for the press elite, Trump’s closest advisor suggested this week that it “shut up and listen” for a change.

That’s good advice.

Here’s what the other revolutionary candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, thinks about all of this. He was also discredited by the mainstream media, then hamstrung by the Democratic establishment.

“Look, any objective assessment in the last year or a year-and-a-half, or how long it was, will tell you that Donald Trump did something extraordinary,” Sanders said in a town hall telecast.

“Something that nobody, but nobody, thought that he could do. Trump took on the Republican establishment, took on the Democratic establishment, took on the media establishment, and he ended up winning the election to become President of the United States. That is an extraordinary accomplishment.”

This is even more generous considering that if Sanders had won the Democratic nomination, he would have roundly defeated Trump. He would have gotten the millions of votes from disenchanted rust-belt Democrats that Trump wooed.

But Sanders is also steely-eyed in his assessment of Trump.

“We are dealing with a man who, in many respects is — how can I phrase this? — a pathological liar,” Sanders said. “I have many conservative friends, and I disagree with them. They are not liars. They have their point of view. But time after time after time, he says stuff that is blatantly untrue.”

This week defines the new reality in America: There are only two brands that matter – Trump and Sanders – not Republicans, Democrats, the New York Times or CNN.

Trump’s war against the media is cheered by Sanders.

“The media is an arm of the ruling class of this country,” he said in a recent interview. “I think what you have is a corporate media, which by definition has conflicts of interest.”

The example Sanders cited was that Disney Corporation, owner of ABC and cable companies, pays workers at their amusement parks $8 or $9 an hour, which is why they don’t run specials on the minimum wage or income inequality in America.

Where are the exposés about reforming the health care system by eliminating the gigantic insurance or drug companies? Or where’s more coverage on climate change or the control of politics through unlimited campaign contributions?

The dirty little secret about the American media is that it is owned by vested interests and is financially dependent on advertising from insurers, fossil fuel industries, super PACs and others.

And now the two most powerful voices in the land want to upend them.

Trump has harnessed technology to become a global network and media brand, with 14 million Twitter followers, unfettered by vested interests. He has shot the messenger and captured access at the same time.

Sanders has a not-insignificant 5.15 million Twitter followers and multiple websites for his movement, which makes him an important counterpoint on policy and governance matters.

For example Bernie tweeted this week: “We have to ensure health care as a right, not give the wealthy $346B in tax breaks while 32 million are thrown off health insurance.”

“It’d be funny if it wasn’t so absurd: Trump, a billionaire, surrounded at his inauguration by billionaires, says he’s anti-establishment.”

“The great political and democratic crisis we face is not voter fraud but voter suppression.”

Such themes are what the media should hone in on – or measure Trump against — but instead they bleat and rail against Trump’s latest outrageous statement, fib, or insults.

Frankly, it’s conduct unbecoming of the Fourth Estate to be drawn into an alley fight with a President instead of defining a debate about how to address what’s really important.

The facts are they have not listened. It was and is about jobs, health care, fairness, and security, stupid.

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