Tide Of Times Trump’s Promises To Keep
With the first 100 days of the United States President Donald J. Trump having just been marked, the many elites, analysts and news scribes, particularly in the US, will predictably come up with the tone and tenor they so relentlessly echoed in the past 14 weeks-plus since the new administration took over on January 20. They will probably give the president two stars in a merit-list of five stars.
If they don’t, it will be a sharp about-turn after all these weeks of criticism day in and day out, the like of which has not been witnessed any time after World War II, with perhaps the exception of Richard Nixon during his short-lived second term in the wake of the Watergate scandal. They have found hardly anything positive about him.
The 45th president of the US has been heaped with diatribes such as “vain, narcissist and dangerous”. He is also accused of “politicisation of the court”, “secrecy, bigotary”, “conflicts of interest”, “sexual molestation”, “split personality” with “a proclivity to lie and mislead with startling audacity” and “Russian ties [anti-American]”, using “bombastic” language but “delivering little”.
If such language were used by the foreign media, for instance, the American embassies in different capitals would feel extremely perturbed and duty-bound to be extra active for correcting
their president’s “the wrong image”. If some scribes in the Nepali media were to borrow for a liberal use of the language and euphemisms, the American embassy in Kathmandu would be hyperactive in efforts at correcting the media contents.
At his first major press conference in February, Trump raised the issue of reporters spreading “fake” news and described The New York Times a “failing” undertaking. Reporters, he said, were “dishonest”, “disgraceful”, “discredited” and, hence, “a joke”. He just broke the taboo of not criticising the media.
An interesting revelation is that most voters who turned support in November are intact and as enthusiastic as ever. According to a Gallop Poll, 87 per cent of Republicans endorse his job performance and 75 per cent of his supporters rate him higher than the very media that are virulently against him. The Gallop Poll showed public trust in the news media dipping at 32 per cent.
Harangues against Trump by scholars and media elites are regular. Most of the major newspapers with large circulations sound as if the ruling class should comply with what the media project and prescribe. They have also raked in a controversy over alleged collusion between Trump’s election campaign team and Russian government to influence the November presidential election last November. One writer said that Trump was getting exhausted of committing errors. Perhaps the negative pens, too, are getting a bit exhausted after Trump’s order to his forces to attack the Syrian airfield earlier this month.
During the marathon election campaign last year, hardly any newspaper thought that Trump had any chance of being nominated the Republican candidate. After Trump “surprised” and “shocked” them with the party ticket he flaunted and defiantly spoke against “fake news”, the press tried to dismiss his White House bid as unlikely. Hardly any single newspaper endorsed his candidacy whereas the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton was editorially supported by many large newspapers.
When the final results were out, the press described the outcome as “surprising” and “shocking”, in a rude denigration of the voters whose support enabled Trump to triumph. Indeed, Trump said things previously not mentioned by presidential candidates, and touched upon issues considered taboo by those holding on to the traditional pattern of electioneering.
Voters in the US are supposed to be the most alert and aware in the world, supposedly on account of the high quality of education, skills and opportunities in they have. Most brilliant students with Master’s certificates from the developing nations are required to attend at least two extra semesters for status of Master’s degree in the US. The requirement stresses the point that universities in the “Third World” are below standards.
Such being the American level education, in addition to the truly multiple channels of information and communication available to and availed of by most Americans who are aware of their rights and obligations to society better than much of the rest of the world, voters dared not be accused of not knowing what they do with their votes. It is simply that Americans elected Trump as their president in a resounding rebuff of the analyses news scribes and political experts, and rejected the idea of an arrogant, misguided group that postured as being endowed with infallibility.
But the mega ego possessing the analysts does not let them off. A rare and honest few did go on record early on, when Trump got elected, that their ratings of the candidates went way off the mark and hence they were going to review and revise their focus. The larger majority of the news media people, however, continue to find faults with almost every turn and twist of Trump initiatives and decisions.
Considered by the American elite as one of the most prestigious newspapers, The New York Times has carried more than 60 editorials and an average of not less than three opinion pieces a day these past 95 days, which nick pick on everything that the president says or does. While wondering whether America’s democracy, under Trump, is “under siege” or in “great danger”, the media have been carrying news and features that present the president-they-did-not- want as military-minded, money-minded and twitter-minded.
Not to be cowed down by such self-serving scribes, the former reality show presenter on TV has, in his new job as the executive head of the world’s most powerful military, proved to be too media savvy for liking of the mainstream news media operators.
In the use of social media, Trump shows remarkable skill and interest in directing his connectivity with the American public. Whenever he has something to say, he simply tweets to offer a hint or come up with a clarification without waiting for the news media to be briefed first. He prefers direct communication more than leaks, deep background and exclusive stories and scoops for a select few in journalism. This has put off the mainstream news media.
If such is the way the American media treat and assess their own president who vows to work for his “America first” slogan, what do they expect him to be viewed by the rest of the world that, as a matter of declared policy, is of secondary interest and significance to the constantly reminded world’s “most powerful” office?
Trump is his own man who tests and tries to do what he believes in. That is the reason why he won the elections. That is what makes him still popular among his voters in November. So far he has carried his supporters in agreement with his efforts, notwithstanding the daily bombardment of criticisms from the media. The quality of his administration’s initiatives and enterprising knack should be known by next year this time. He has time to prove his mettle.
Prof. Dr. Jagdish Prasad Agrawal is a well-known name in the health professions education sector of Nepal. Having joined Maharajgunj Medical Campus under...