High life | 9 February 2017

He was a great president brought down by a palace coup and the Washington establishment

High life | 9 February 2017
Text settings

When I was young my recurring nightmare was that I would die and be reincarnated as a polo pony. I squeezed in lots of polo during the years I played, at least three matches per week, mostly in Paris, and I felt that polo ponies had the kind of deal the mass media are now handing Trump. I wasn’t mad about the people I played with either. Back then, in the Sixties and Seventies, fat businessmen who cantered hired good Argentines to carry the can, but picked up the cup after strolling around the field and yelling quite a lot.

Well, now I’m over it, but have an even worse nightmare: that I might return as Trump’s White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, and have to face the outraged and hysterical so-called press corps every day. Never have I seen such a conspicuously bogus bunch of supposedly objective reporters as the rabble-rousers posing as the Fourth Estate. It is amazing that poor old Spicer can understand what they’re saying, as they foam at the mouth with phoney indignation and ever-increasing spirals of hysteria.

Nah, give me a pony’s life any day — at least I’d get some peace and quiet in the stables. Sure, the Donald gives the media quite a lot of ammunition, but it’s mostly promotional puffery. He is, after all, a salesman, a man who is not constrained by exact facts and whose lexicon doesn’t include the word failure.

The press, of course, pretends to be holier than thou, and is not best pleased when its falsehoods and errors are pointed out. I managed to squeeze two American columns out of the item Charles Moore mentioned in his Spectator’s Notes a few weeks back about the double standards of Meryl Streep. (And yes, I did credit the great Charles.) One of my Yankee editors thanked me profusely. How come we never heard of this? he asked. Does the ham like the knife, was my answer.

American hacks are far worse than European ones because they take themselves seriously and are hypocrites like no others. They tend to quote highly expert professionals in their hatchet jobs, such as obscure professors in places of learning where basket-weaving and women’s fashions are major subjects; scientists who couldn’t start a fire in a cafeteria if their lives depended on it, and other such bogus experts as economists like the late, unlamented ‘economics expert’ Yanis Varoufakis, who is tragically still with us.

Yes, dear readers, there’s a clear bias against Trump these days, mostly emanating from a Fourth Estate that simply cannot swallow the fact that he beat the hell out of them and got elected despite their non-stop efforts to thwart him. According to the phoniest of all newspapers, the New York Times, he used alternative facts to win. Well, I don’t know what alternative facts are, but I do know that if they exist every person running for office uses them, especially in America.

The biggest laugh I had came from the comparison of Trump with President Nixon. The latter no more liked the media and the Times than Trump does, but he had both houses of Congress against him. The Donald does not. Nixon was a great president brought down by a palace coup and the Washington establishment. He brought about a period of détente with the Soviet Union, providing an opportunity for Soviet Jews to emigrate, opened the door to China, preserved America’s ties with Taiwan, came to the rescue of Israel in 1973, and concluded the Vietnam war with honour while bringing home American prisoners of war. Washington thanked him by trying to impeach him for the cover-up of a bungled break-in he did not order or approve of. My unsolicited advice to Trump is to study President Nixon’s fall. I lived it, wrote about it, and am still bitter about it: a disgruntled FBI biggie leaking mostly false information that became fact overnight to two unscrupulous reporters. A Hollywood movie followed, end of story.

Now the Watergate ‘scandal’ is reported as Nixon’s duplicitous handling of the war. But the war was Johnson’s war, not Nixon’s, and its linguistic ‘Newspeak’ was the media’s. Unlike Richard Nixon, who could only defend himself through a few honest journalists like Bob Tyrrell and Robert Novak, Trump has a nuclear option in his hands that’s called Twitter. The Donald is not afraid to label CNN as fake news, nor to call other major news reporters liars. He can dish it out where President Nixon could not. The game has changed through technology, and the old hag, the New York Times, cannot compete. It can only spew out rage and lies in its comment section.

How does the New York Times lie? That’s an easy one. In how it selects what appears in its pages. Fake news is selective news, and no one does it better than the American newspapers and media. One person’s fake news is another’s opinion or interpretation of the same facts. The game has changed and the American liberal establishment cannot swallow it without choking. New York Times partisans, between sobbing and weeping uncontrollably, are blaming alternative facts and other Trumpian inventions. Losers have never been good sports among the media, but where Trump is concerned they’ve really blown their cool. The columnists are shrill and pathetic, the editorials salacious and parroting, the reporting tendentious and at times outright false. The Donald has driven the Times nuts.