FBI Director James Comey’s explosive revelations about how President Trump lied to the American people about President Obama “wiretapping” him during the election set off a firestorm of public controversy during Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing.
A prominent Rupert Murdoch-owned publication just poured gasoline on the blaze of voter fury, warning Trump that he’s in jeopardy of becoming a “fake president.”
In a scathing opinion piece Wednesday, the conservative editorial board of the venerable Wall Street Journal condemned the President for “…the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”
The Wall Street Journal is a corporate cousin of Fox News, both owned by parent company News Corp.
The Journal didn’t stop there. The very deliberately-crafted 630 word opinion goes on to essentially accuse Mr. Trump of acting like a drunken fool.
The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.
Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims… That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.
“If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii,” they hypothesize, “would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world?”
Their answer? “We’re not sure.”
If all of that wasn’t humiliating enough for the President, the real knock-out blow comes in the opinion’s closing argument:
“[President Trump] survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything…”
“Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.”
This is the clearest and most startling split yet by the more respected and legitimate “news” outlets on the right from their radical, conspiracy peddling, fear mongering associates on the fringes of the internet.
For all the President’s howling about ‘fake news,’ the real news, left and right, is now nearly unanimous in its assessment that Trump’s legitimacy is the only thing that’s fake.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.