Media can’t admit Trump just had his best 24 hours

Media can’t admit Trump just had his best 24 hours

Your big news of the week — and possibly the year and beyond, depending on how it ultimately shakes out — is that President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced a general agreement that includes the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for the U.S. offering up "security guarantees" while ending joint military exercises with South Korea. 

And, as a reminder of just how stunning these developments are in a Trump news cycle full of stunners on an almost-daily basis, just look back at the headlines of August 2017 that warned of nuclear war due to Trump's vow to bring down “fire and fury the world has never seen” after North Korea conducted another missile test while threatening to nuke Guam.  

ADVERTISEMENT
The devil is in the details around this agreement announced Tuesday, and past agreements with the North Koreans have resulted the same net worth as a losing lottery ticket. 

 

But again, when compared to where we were 10 months ago, to think that no missile tests have been conducted since December, that Kim Jong Un is speaking on friendly terms with South Korea and the U.S., that a roadmap to a denuclearized peninsula is now agreed to, it's very difficult to not say the past 24 hours haven't been arguably the best 24 hours for Trump since the tax bill was signed — if not the best since election night.  

So how did our political media handle the story? In some cases, but not nearly enough, fairly well in laying out the facts and asking the right questions around the specifics of the agreement or Trump's praise of Kim, a dictator accused of human right violations. All fair. 

Yet, as is always the case, there are too many of the usual suspects who exist in the Fourth Estate only to provide comfort food to their audiences and readers out of fear alienating them for the crime of actually praising the president’ accomplishments. 

The reflex to the negative is built into the DNA now, for as long Trump is in office. And that usually means getting provocative in providing "coverage" of an historic event. 

And that said, here's your colorful to, shall we say, interesting quotes from the media in the past 24 hours: 

  • “Is it worth even bringing up ... that the president of the United States turned 72 this week? We think Kim Jong Un is 34. Again, somebody who has been trained, who has come through a dynastic situation. Does that give him necessarily an advantage here?” (MSNBC's Chris Jansing on Monday) 
  • "Two larger than life showmen [Trump and Kim] have turned a summit about life and death into a sort of reality show in Singapore." (CNN's Erin Burnett) 
  • "Disconcerting to say the least to see POUTS shaking hands with the thug Kim Jong Un and saying he’s 'honored.' Will only be worth it if Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran vows new US action group won’t topple government Bolton wants to see 'seriousness' from North Korea on denuclearization Trump: ‘Nothing bad can happen' from meeting with foreign leaders MORE is right about what he sensed in his NK meetings. We’ll know soon enough," (Fox News analyst Brit Hume.)
  • "President Trump wrote a book on deal-making and we know Kim Jong Un is aware of it. Dennis Rodman says he presented the book, 'The Art of the Deal,' to a government official in North Korea last year. So Kim may have got a look inside the Trump playbook in advance." (CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor; in a related note, "The Art of the Deal" was written more than three decades ago, when Kim was 2-years-old)
  • “Just because something hasn't happened before, doesn't mean it's historic." (Presidential historian Jon Meacham on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," on the historic, first-ever meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader)
  • “I can kind of understand with North Korea because you butter up somebody to get them to the negotiating table. And if he [Trump] succeeds, God bless him. If he succeeds in reducing the nuclear threat in North Korea." (CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, a staunch Trump critic) 
  • “This is not gonna work,” Chris Matthews responded to Colbert. “This is not just lunch. No, it’s not gonna work.”
  • "One particularly interesting thing about the menu, as I was thinking as you were reading all that out, Don. The poor North Korean people. If they knew what was being dished out there. They can't even imagine the types of foods that you've rolled off your tongue." (Jonathan Wachtel, former communications director at the U.S. mission to the U.N., to CNN's Don Lemon.) 
  • "Trump and Kim Each Got a Win from the Summit. But Did the World?" (Time Magazine headline)

Add it all up and, at first glance, it may be difficult for the average person watching at home or reading online to know what to make of this summit in terms of success or failure. 

Unless, of course, those watching and reading have a brain and the ability to draw conclusions on their own. 

All too often, we don't give news consumers the credit they deserve in being able to cut through the noise and come to their own conclusions. 

Example: The Hill tallied up 59 newspaper endorsements right before the 2016 election. Result: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Santorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI Giuliani claims McGahn was a 'strong witness' for Trump MORE landed 57 of those 59 endorsements.  

Next result: The Democratic challenger gave a concession speech days later after the votes were counted.  

Lesson: Some in our media, particularly of the political variety, believe being louder and more provocative means getting through to more people after such clips and posts go viral. The key is influence. As we've seen time and again, that influence is only a fraction of what it once was due to the cacophony, the confusion.  

A Pew Research analysis last week found that nearly seven in 10 Americans are fatigued by the news cycle. 

Not surprising. 

And after three days of summit talk that is dominated by opinion, the fatigue just got even stronger, while media influence over opinion is a relic of the past. 

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.

This piece has been updated.