Wednesday, June 14, 2017

All the President's Tweets

What do you think of President Trump's use of twitter to talk directly to the people?

Your title "All the President's Tweets" may be very appropriate, reminding us of "All the President's Men." Evoking Nixon is cruel! But I can imagine Trump saying: "I am not a crook. I am just ignorant." That would go over better than Nixon's unforgettable denial. Maybe Bernstein and Woodward will use your suggestion for their next book/movie.

Actually, you are not too far off in my thinking. At a time when Democrats are hyperventilating over the word Watergate, Trump continues to tweet about hidden recordings or tapes. If his goal is to keep people thinking that he's Nixon, he couldn't do any better. It makes no sense from a PR (or any other) perspective.

But even Bob Woodward says there is no comparison of what's going on to Watergate, and he should know. He says there is no evidence of any crimes committed by Trump, but he does believe some Obama administration officials may be facing some legal charges.

Ha! Those Washington Examiner articles are from May and March 2017. Outdated. There are two parts to your question: Trump's use of Twitter, and the idea that this somehow allows him to "talk directly to the people." First on his use of Twitter: Yeah, baby! He should tweet early and often. The more he tweets, the more use that is for all purposes. For example, his tweets on Monday June 5th, 2017 (just a few days ago) completely undermined his case for his travel ban. He did two things: he admitted that it was just a "watered down" version of the first:
Of course, it was his own Executive Order, so who is he complaining about? Who is actually coming up with these Executive Orders? Also, he admitted that it was a "Travel Ban."
"During court arguments, U.S. government lawyers have gone out of their way to not use the term 'travel ban,' instead calling it a 'temporary pause' — the same phrase used by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly" - The Hill
I'm not a lawyer, but this type of tweeting appears to speak to the President's intentions, and that appears to be useful in deciding if this Executive Order is really a "Muslim Ban" as he promised (but then deleted).

So, yes, I love that he tweets without having those bureaucrats edit his text into something coherent.  That would just muddy the waters so that we wouldn't get a clear picture of what he is covfefe.

I concur. He is his own worst enemy when it comes to his tweeting habits. Why he feels the need to completely undermine his team is beyond me. He has always been egotistical, along with just about everyone who runs for  POTUS, but he needs to tone it down. His tweets feed the frenzy.

In another sense, the press spends days talking about the tweets rather than anything that might focus criticisms towards the agenda, but for the most part, his tweeting is completely disrupting any way to move projects along.

But the idea that any president needs a channel to "talk directly to the people" is wacky for two reasons. First, any president has any number of ways of getting messages to the public. And there are at least a couple of media outlets that would gladly give him whatever airtime, column space he would want. But more importantly, this type of "talking directly to the people" is dangerously one-sided. When a president gives a press conference, the president can speak their mind; but the press usually gets to ask questions about whatever was just spoken. That is an important component left out when the president posts his 140-character nuggets.

"A couple of media outlets" is just about right. The vast majority of the media is biased in a liberal way, as we have discussed before.

When I said a "couple of outlets", I was referring to organizations like FoxNews and Sinclair Broadcast Group, and I was directly referring to those that would gladly give him uninterrupted time without even having a rebuttal. But note that Sinclair Broadcast Group is poised to purchase Tribune Media Group. That will make this group the largest provider of local news in the country. So, yes, as we have discussed before, the vast majority of media is "fair and balanced" in that particular manner that is neither fair nor balanced.

I'm surprised you think it's dangerous for the POTUS to be able to state what he wants to say without filters.

I'd be surprised at that too! Because that is not what I said. I said that it is dangerous for him to be able to state what he wants without questions. But that is subtlety that hardly matters in this day and age.

We're both saying the same thing, I think. The media questions filter what he's saying to add depth to the comments. To flesh out the statements. Twitter is a poor way of expressing any ideas, let alone serious, national policy issues. It's been illustrated in studies that the format of twitter, Facebook, and even e-mail, fails to provide the needed context and depth that serious matters require. It's too easy to misinterpret a one-sentence statement.

Your irony kills me!

But It isn't necessarily dangerous, just not the best way to get information out. I don't have a real issue with using social media to bypass the press, as they seem to have their own narrative.

Take this article, for instance. The headline is Sean Spicer can't say if Trump remains confident in Jeff Sessions. But within the article, the quote is:

"I have not had a discussion with him about that," Spicer said when asked Tuesday about Trump's feelings toward Sessions."

Spicer says he didn't talk to the president about Sessions, and that becomes a headline and story that insinuates their is a rift between the president and his AG. There are many examples just like this where it appears there is a narrative already in place, and even a comment that Spicer "doesn't know", which means he doesn't know the answer to the question, becomes evidence that the narrative is true.

In the context we're talking about twitter, it could be considered dangerous for the president to use twitter with it's limitations, but that has nothing to do with reporters challenging the statements. They seem to be doing that well enough.

I also see that some have taken him for task for blocking some twitter users. Some say that is unconstitutional.

If a president chooses to use a personal twitter account, how could it be unconstitutional for him to block certain people from use? If he maintained a personal FB feed, he could do the same. For that matter, he can block certain news outlets from being present at news conferences if he chooses. There is no constitutional right for people to be able to use twitter. Anyone who thinks the US Constitution guarantees the right to troll the POTUS is a nut job who doesn't understand what constitutional rights are.

Unless, of course, his tweets are official statements from the President of the United States of America, and he only allows some of those Americans to receive his golden nuggets. But please don't call Spicer a "nut job"... his job is hard enough.

And it may be illegal for him to delete tweets, if they are Official Statements from the President (which Spicey says that they are).  This just in: they are official, and can't be deleted.

They are certainly the unvarnished words of the POTUS. But you're mixing two arguments. Limiting who can comment on tweets is not the same thing as deleting tweets. Not everyone can come to a press briefing, right? The president can pick and choose who gets to attend his speeches. You can't just walk into the State of the Union Address. So, the president can certainly pick who can comment on his twitter account in the new world of social media.

But the idea that the president's tweets cannot be deleted is a new wrinkle that needs to be thought out better by the president and his people. Social media is a new way for the POTUS to communicate, but the legalities behind those tweets has yet to be completely ironed out. It's another reason he should think twice before hitting the keypad.

Of course, Trump isn't the only politician speaking directly to the people:
Keep on tweeting, people! And all of this is a distraction from items of importance this past week:
  1. Comey's Testimony; Sessions Testimony
  2. Senate GOP works to cripple healthcare -- Shh! It's a secret!
  3. Mueller staffing up Russian probe
  4. UK's conservatives lose majority; oops!
Pass the popcorn!

You're forgetting other important news that is being overshadowed:

1. Iowa's Obamacare market completely collapses, seeks bailout to save it.
2. New Pennsylvania coal mine opens with bipartisan support.
3. US leading indicators point to faster economic growth.
4. U.S. added 235,000 jobs in February; unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent.
5.  Bipartisan Fast and Furious report released: Obstruction of Congress by Obama Dept. of Justice

Personally, I'm calling on the same guys who smashed all of Hillary's iPhones to get their hammers out and eliminate Trumps iPhone as well. Or at least institute a "No Tweeting Between the Hours of 11PM  - 6AM" policy.

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