2nd Amendment comments won't hurt & everyone will know that in a week
Trump's poll surge is about to get tested. The MSM will test it like auto manufacturers test the integrity of their frames, with repeated head-on collisions while they studiously note where they might hit again to yield a total structure failure. The question is, however, after months of incredible outrage directed at Trump, how much damage can the MSM do to the Donald?
The MSM thought that Donald Trump had a bad Friday, not as bad as face-planting into the Scooby van, but bad. As Trump basher Glenn Thrush wrote in Politico, Trump could get cocky and make a mistake and the liberal MSM is waiting for it. The media thinks they witnessed such a mistake Friday night in front a raucous crowd, but they are wrong. Here's why.
The off-script imagining of what would happen if the Secret Service surrendered their weapons is in reality a pointed criticism of Clinton hypocrisy. The problem for Trump is that the liberal media, whose self-described mission it is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, don't much like the type of afflicted that he represents. So instead of viewing the remarks as a populist critique of an elitist, MSM spun it as unhinged.
How one views these comments is determined by one's perspective on gun rights. The MSM doesn't value 2nd Amendment rights so they don't understand why people are fearful of Hillary, who many view as deserving of the kind of condemnation Trump delivered. She relies on gun protection but wants to take your guns away and will appoint a Justice who will do just that. That is, in actual fact, genuine elitist hypocrisy.
The comments Trump made, when viewed as criticism of banning guns, make sense. When viewed as just a threat of course they look unhinged. Most Americans value the 2nd Amendment, unlike the media, so they instinctively disagree with the MSM take.
The media ignores the legitimate nature of a condemnation of the gun ban Hillary wants to impose through the Court. Instead, the MSM played the controvery up as a whacky threat as screenshots of their landing pages demonstrate. But unlike the last foray into an alleged threat by Trump, the story did not continue to take the lead on the websites Saturday. I think I know why.
First, I'm not speaking about loony CNN and MSNBC. I didn't watch either network, so I don't know if they went wall-to-wall with it, but I suspect they did. But those networks don't move persuadable voters because they don't watch political news. The Internet might move them, but it's got to be sustained for several days and this story won't last.
Here's why the media will largely drop it. The first time Trump got in trouble for a 2nd Amendment comment, the media pushed the Trump unhinged narrative relentlessly. It moved some persuadables against him temporarily, but it also was representative of an approach to covering politics that has deeply wounded the press.
Most Americans view them as deeply biased and unfair to Trump. The Gallup poll released this week showing that only 14% of Republicans and 30% of Independents trust the media, and only 32% overall, shows us how bad the problem is. This poll shows that they have lost almost 70% of the country, which seems to include most of the persuadables. Most of that 70% just happen to be people who highly prize the 2nd Amendment. The media gets that so they are going to drop it.
In addition to their loss of credibility, the press is facing the same problem as the Hillary campaign. They have attacked Trump so viciously, repetitively and in such personal terms that Trump is, at least in substantial part, inoculated from further character attacks. The vast majority of American voters have tuned them out, carefully constructing their own news networks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and iHeartRadio, among many other social networks. To break through, the MSM must go nuclear, which further shrinks their audience, and they just aren't going to keep doing that for Hillary Clinton because they don't like her and the media realizes their problem.
Frank Bruni made the point that Democrats (and the media) have so often labeled Republicans racists and abhorrent that their claims now fall on deaf ears. Bruni cites Democratic operative Howard Wolfson who recalls using language against John McCain and Mitt Romney that was hyperbolic, inaccurate and undermined his credibility. NeverTrumper Jonah Goldberg also made this point when he wrote that decades of unfair attacks on the GOP leaves the MSM without credibility to effectively bring Trump down.
Howard Kurtz asks whether Clinton has used all of her best ammo. She went "nuclear" in ripping Trump's temperament for three months straight, in media, advertising and through every surrogate, and now she is tied with the trend line going against her. Kurtz cites NeverTrumper Rich Lowry who said that even he "is sick of seeing" Hillary's attacks on Trump "every other time" he turns on the TV.
So how do we know if the media attacks really have lost their teeth against Trump? Nate Silver is telling us to look at the polls in a week to see if Hillary is really in trouble. If she doesn't reverse the trend, Silver writes that not only is Trump having a few good weeks, but the Democrats should panic. If Trump does hold his gains, one could reasonably conclude that Trump is inoculated from their ruthless character attacks to a significant extent and that this race has really turned toward him. After a full day of polling after this story broke, today's LA Times tracking poll shows Trump gaining yet again. The 2nd Amendment story didn't hurt him yet and I suspect it won't in the coming week.
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