Trump and the media: a Twitter story
President-elect Donald Trump has tweeted a total of 24 times since his election night victory, and 8 of those tweets, or a third, have been about the media.
Of the tweets against the media, 6 of them specifically single out The New York Times for their coverage of the president-elect.
On Nov. 10, just one day after Trump was declared the winner of the election and as protests roiled the country, Trump tweeted the “professional protesters” were being incited by the media. “Very unfair!” he wrote.
Three days later, on Nov. 13, he began his battle with the Times.
Stating that the Times was “losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the ‘Trump phenomena,’” Trump wondered if the Times’ “bad” coverage of him would change.
fact: surge in new subscriptions, print & digital, with trends, stops & starts, 4 X better than normal.— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) November 13, 2016
Later that same day, Trump would again tweet at the Times, this time calling the newspaper “dishonest” for its story in which it stated Trump has suggested that more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.
“How dishonest are they. I never said this!” Trump wrote.
But in a March 2016 town hall with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Trump offered conflicting narratives, stating that nuclear proliferation is “going to happen anyway,” and appearing to advocate for nukes for South Korea and Japan, while also saying that he “hate[s]” nuclear.
Just prior to that town hall, Trump told the Times that because of North Korea, “maybe it’s not so bad to have Japan — if Japan had that nuclear threat.”
Another three-day lull, and Trump once again set his social sights at the media and the Times.
On Wednesday, in a three-tweet rant, Trump said the “failing” Times was wrong in its reporting of turmoil within his transition team and apparently improvised calls with world leaders.
“It is going so smoothly,” Trump wrote in the first tweet of his second Twitter war with the Times. “Also, I have spoken to many foreign leaders.”
He also hit the media more generally that day, claiming a report that he was seeking a security clearance for his children was a “typically false” story.
On Tuesday, the Times reported that Trump and his team were “improvising the most basic traditions of assuming power,” including that the president-elect had not been briefed by the state department before his first phone calls with world leaders.
For anyone that’s been even remotely paying attention, Trump’s vitriol against the media comes as no surprise.
Labeling the media as “biased” during his campaign, Trump has previously threatened to “open up our libel laws” to make it easier to sue news organizations.
In the week since he won the election, Trump has broken press protocol at least twice: the first time when he did not allow a group of journalists to travel with him when he met with President Barack Obama at the White House, and again when he went out to dinner at the 21 Club in Manhattan without a press pool.
Taking to Twitter to air his grievances is nothing new for Trump, who has sent 34,000 tweets and has 15.3 million followers.
In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday, Trump said that he planned on being “very restrained” if he continued to use Twitter as president. In the same interview, Trump praised the social media platform, calling it a “modern form of communication.”
However, Trump might find it hard to tweet after Jan. 20 inauguration.
When President Barack Obama was finally upgraded to a smartphone earlier this year, the phone’s beefed up security measures meant that the device was incapable of taking pictures, making phone calls, texting, and even playing music.