Remember that astounding 1974 fight billed as “The Rumble in the Jungle?” The “jungle” was the African nation of Zaire, and the “rumble” was between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
Foreman had won 40 fights, 37 by knockout, and had lost precisely zero. He was considered unbeatable, a super-human blend of Samson and Paul Bunyan. But, as you know, Ali unveiled his “rope-a-dope” and allowed Foreman to take wild swings, most of them relatively harmless. By the eighth round, Big George was totally exhausted, punched out, staggering around like a lumbering giant. A sudden flurry from Ali sent Foreman to the canvas and his first loss.
What does that have to do with anything today? Well, many in the news media have been acting the part of George Foreman from the moment Donald Trump was elected, which they perceived as the opening bell in the fight of their lives. They’ve thrown all sorts of haymakers, uppercuts, hooks, and crosses at the man so many of them openly despise.
The media hammered President Trump on his tax returns, financial empire, honesty, management skills, and scores of other issues. When nothing really stuck, they settled on Russia and alleged “collusion,” even though there is absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.
The Media Research Center, which follows this sort of thing, reports that the three broadcast news programs devoted 353 minutes of air time to Russia over five weeks in May and June. By contrast, they doled out 29 minutes to stories about terrorism, 17 minutes to health care, and a whopping five minutes to the economy.
Things are even worse at CNN and MSNBC, which go round-the-clock with their Trump hatred. CNN is the worst of ’em all, and just this week that “news” network dismissed three reporters who got an anti-Trump Russia story totally wrong.
Apparently Trump-hating humans aren’t even enough for CNN – this week they actually interviewed the Sesame Street character Elmo, who expressed disgust with President Trump’s travel ban.
Of course, MSNBC is no slouch when it comes to disrespecting the president. Just to pick a day at random, this Wednesday the Morning Joe team was busy ramping up its daily dose of hate. This was Mike Barnicle, a “senior contributor” who contributes little but vitriol: “He has injected an anti-journalism virus into the culture,” Barnicle said of the president.
Really, Mike? You don’t think that “anti-journalism virus” was self-administered? Trust in the media has been in a steep decline for more than a decade, largely because of the adoring coverage afforded to President Obama. Heck, they are still covering for Barack Obama by ignoring the news that he was aware of Russian meddling long before the November election and did nothing.
Just a few minutes later, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said this about President Trump: “There’s not truthfulness, there’s not love of country.” That is both grotesque and astounding! One can dislike the president and accuse him of many things, but is she really saying he doesn’t love his country?
Perhaps that was the final straw that inspired President Trump’s over-the-top and very personal Thursday morning tweets, in which he called Brzezinski “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and labeled her fiancée and co-host “Psycho Joe.”
For better or worse, and this time it was worse, President Trump is not someone who lays back against the ropes and allows someone to question his patriotism.
But this massive cloud of media negativity and irresponsibility may have a silver lining, which brings us back to George Foreman. The media Trump-haters could finally be punching themselves out. Even they seem to be growing weary of the never-ending Russia allegations, and their dwindling audiences are showing distinct signs of exhaustion.
According to an editorial in Investors Business Daily, the “worm is starting to turn” as Russia fatigue sets in among American news consumers. If that’s the case, and the ratings indicate that it is, the numbers-crunchers in green eyeshades will surely take notice and the media may finally move on to other issues.
This is not to say they will give President Trump much of a chance, the hatred just runs too deep. Media outlets will continue to throw wild punches and the president will continue to hit back with jabs on Twitter.
But maybe, just maybe, our leading newspapers and networks are about to get over their Russia obsession. They may realize that the time has finally come to get back to informing Americans about real and important issues that affect our daily lives and the future of this country.
They threw their best punches, apparently certain they would deliver a knockout blow. But President Trump is still standing, while they are stumbling around the ring in a daze, looking more and more like Big George Foreman 43 years ago.