Trump TV: Just like North Korea, Donald Trump Launches His Own State Media
August 8, 2017 Trump TV & Jake Taper/CNN & Keith Olbermann/ The Closer & Aaron Blake / The Washington Post & Tod Perry / Good Worldwide Inc.
Commentary: On August 7, the second edition of Trump TV debuted on Facebook with a promise to provide the Real News of the week "from Trump Tower in New York!" In the first 90-second segment, anchor Kayleigh McEnany made a number of questionable claims about Trump's achievements. The Washington Post called the event "a lot like real propaganda -- or state TV." Trump TV is reportedly run by Eric Trump's wife, Lara, and has used campaign funds to finance the broadcasts.
Trump TV: Just like North Korea,
Donald Trump Launches His own State Media
(August 6, 2017) -- Kayleigh McEnany left CNN yesterday. Today, she made her debut on Trump TV. Join Kayleigh McEnany as she provides you the news of the week from Trump Tower in New York! CNN Jake Tapper Panel Blasts 'REAL NEWS'
Kayleigh McEnany for Defending President Trump
What is Donald Trump's Plan for Trump TV? The Closer with Keith Olbermann
(November 3, 2016) -- Maybe there's more to these "Trump TV" rumors than we realize. Trump TV's 'Real News' Sounds More Like Real Propaganda Aaron Blake / The Washington Post
(August 7, 2017) -- Kayleigh McEnany, who has been plying her trade as a pro-Trump pundit on CNN for a while, jumped ship to the Trump Team over the weekend. And Sunday, she debuted a Trump TV segment that she labeled the "real news."
It is real spin, at best. And it feels a lot like real propaganda -- or state TV.
In her first 90-second segment, McEnany makes a number of questionable claims, most notably about the credit President Trump deserves for continued strong economic growth. Below, I've transcribed the whole segment, with some reality checks interjected.
Hey, everybody. I'm Kayleigh McEnany. Thank you for joining us as we provide the news of the week from Trump Tower here in New York. More great economic news on Friday: The July jobs report added a better-than-expected 209,000 new jobs.
Overall, since the president took office, President Trump has created more than 1 million new jobs, the unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, and consumer confidence is at a 16-year high -- all while the Dow Jones continues to break records. President Trump has clearly steered the economy back in the right direction.
First off, it is true that the July jobs report was "better than expected." It is also true that the unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since 2001. And these are legitimately good stories for Trump to tell.
But like Trump, McEnany takes it too far. Saying that Trump "has created more than 1 million jobs" and that Trump "has clearly steered the economy back in the right direction" is taking some real liberties. And that's for one big reason: The jobs picture has largely continued the trends from late in President Barack Obama's administration.
In his first six months, the economy under Trump has indeed added more than 1 million new jobs -- 1.07 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in the last six months under Obama, the economy added slightly more jobs than that -- 1.08 million. And if anything, the average jobs growth under Trump is actually slightly slower than it was in Obama's final years:
* Trump's first six months: 179,000 jobs per month * Obama's final year (2016): 187,000 * Obama's full second term: 209,000
As Philip Bump noted after last month's jobs report, what we've seen looks more like a continuation of a strong trend that Trump inherited from Obama, rather than Trump steering "the economy back in the right direction." Things were already headed in the right direction, in fact, so Trump didn't need to steer anything. He needed to keep it on course.
Beyond that, there's the question of how much credit a new president deserves for jobs created in his first months in office. Trump hasn't signed any major economic legislation.
You can make a credible argument that his rhetoric has created the environment for continued strong growth, but saying he "created more than 1 million jobs" is just too much. The economy he oversees created those jobs. He may deserve some credit, but he didn't create them all.
Lastly, McEnany's claim that consumer confidence is at a 16-year high doesn't check out. The University of Michigan has been tracking consumer sentiment since 1952, and it's actually currently at a nine-month low. It did reach a 13-year high (not 16-year) under Trump this year, but as you can see below, it had already approached that high under Obama, and it's basically been around the same level for years, with a new peak and then a downturn under Trump.
And it's not just the University of Michigan. Gallup, which regularly measures economic confidence, also shows it dropping to levels similar to late in the Obama administration after peaking early under Trump.
Continuing on with McEnany . . .
On Wednesday, the president introduced the Raise Act. For decades, a steady rise in immigration has depressed the wages of American workers. The Raise Act will increase wages, decrease poverty and save the taxpayers billions. Americans deserve a raise, and President Trump is finally putting the American worker first.
The idea that immigration depresses wages is, again, highly debatable. The White House last week pointed to a study by Harvard economist George J. Borjas that suggested that low-skill immigrants do indeed reduce the wages of American workers.
As Bump noted in a deep dive on this subject, others, including the conservative National Review, have poked holes in that research, noting that there are other factors that may be more to blame.
The point is that this "real news" is not an ironclad fact. And then McEnany goes on to promise that the Raise Act will "increase wages, decrease poverty and save taxpayers billions." That's promising a lot.
Also on Wednesday, President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to one of our Vietnam War heroes: Specialist 5 James McCloughan. McCloughan risked his life on nine separate occasions, saving many of his wounded peers.
President Trump also honored veterans as a whole with yet another VA reform package that will enable millions of veterans to receive better access to care. President Trump is dedicated to honoring these men and women who fought valiantly for our country and ensuring that they receive the care that they deserve.
Trump has indeed signed a V.A. reform bill into law. It was two-and-a-half months ago, and it was a piece of what Trump aims to do to help improve veterans' care. So the "real news" here is basically using a Medal of Honor ceremony -- which all presidents preside over -- to play up something that happened months ago.
Thank you for joining us everybody. I'm Kayleigh McEnany, and that is the real news.
The term "fake news" became a punch-line during the Trump administration. Trump TV now seems bent on doing the same with "real news." Trump TV Debuts 'The Real News,'
And It Looks A Lot Like State Propaganda Tod Perry / Good Worldwide Inc.
(August 7, 2017) -- Lacking a nuanced understanding of how the US government functions and the role of president, Donald Trump has often acted like an amateur authoritarian. He attacks the institutions that stand in the way of implementing his agenda and humiliates his enemies and himself on Twitter.
While those behaviors suggest a man wading blindly into authoritarian waters, he shouldn't be taken lightly. His enthusiastic embrace of totalitarian world leaders and distaste for civil liberties show him to be a man with more than a passing fascination with autocracy.
While Trump supporters may criticize those who fear his authoritarian tendencies as hyperbolic, they need look no further than his war on the press for a legitimate reason to worry. Trump has labeled the press the "enemy of the people" and day after day brands unfavorable stories and organizations who criticize him as "fake news." Now, he's taken a page from the authoritarian handbook by creating his own news channel, Trump TV.
On Sunday, Trump TV debuted "The Real News," hosted by former CNN pundit Kayleigh McEnany. In the 90-second clip, McEnany praises Trump, saying he "has created over 1 million jobs" since taking office and "clearly has steered the economy in the right direction" -- although with any scrutiny, it's clear the positive economic news is more the result of Obama-era policies than changes orchestrated by Trump. The news clip also praised the RAISE Act, which operates on the myth that immigrants are depressing American wages.
Throughout history, totalitarian leaders have worked to curtail free speech and a free press by implementing state-run media to keep the ruling regime in power. Currently, Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Turkmenistan all use various forms of state-run media to squelch political speech, dominate mass communication, and keep pro-government narratives front-and-center.
Although Trump's using a private channel to combat negative media narratives, Trump TV eerily echoes the propaganda techniques used by authoritarian regimes.
The vision for Trump TV goes back to 2016, when it looked as though Trump would lose the election to Hillary Clinton. Toward the end of the campaign, Trump began plans to leverage his newfound populist support to build a right-wing media empire to rival Fox News.
Things obviously changed after the election, and now Trump TV works as a propaganda wing of the administration. According to The Daily Beast, former "Inside Edition" producer and wife of Eric Trump, Lara Trump, is now running the show at Trump TV and uses campaign funds to finance the effort.
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