Donald Trump’s brusque, plainspoken manner masks a fierce intelligence that should not be underestimated. Myself, I had experienced a momentary lapse in judgment with respect to the quality of Fox News Channel’s journalism, during the first prime-time Republican debate, in Cleveland, Ohio. Trump, on the other hand, was never blindsided by the nicely-packaged production that is Megyn Kelly. Kelly, in his plain and simple estimation, “was just not very good or professional.”
Indeed, since returning from her post-spat “vacation,” Kelly’s Trump-free broadcasts have been flat. “Off her game,” Trump tweeted out, right away. And while the celebrity anchor is still drawing ratings, this cannot last, absent the biggest news item: Donald Trump. I expected the anchor to come to her senses and start working hard to get newsmaker Trump back on “The Kelly File.” This has yet to transpire.
Kelly’s most recent belly flop came while “interviewing” Jorge Ramos, another celebrity newscaster who has been on the receiving end of Trump’s much-needed, manly ministrations.
Ramos works for the Univision network, catering to Hispanics. Although he poses as a reporter, in reality, Ramos is an identity-politics activist. This celebrated mediocrity – Ramos made it as one of Time’s “Most Influential People” – crashed a Trump event, held on Tuesday, in Dubuque, Iowa. It was plain that the “ethnic activist” had materialized not to ask Trump a question, but to protest the candidate’s positions and read him the riot act (in a kind of Pidgin English).
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders was chased off a Seattle stage by two militant, “Black Lives Matter” movementarians. Ramos, the head honcho of the more-powerful, “Hispanic Lives Matter (Only)” movement, was staging a similar performance, this time against Trump.
And Trump was having none of it.
As is his wont, Ramos, Trump explained, began “ranting and raving and screaming, like a madman, and honestly being very disrespectful to all the other reporters.” I watched the Ramos rant on CNN. (FNC’s ratings are fated to fall, if the network fails to carry future Trump events.) Trump’s gloriously funny description was also factual.
Whereas Kelly began her “Breaking Tonight” segment – what’s that all about? – by “informing” her viewers that Ramos had been booted from the Trump news conference, hers was only half the truth.
And half-truths in journalism help perpetuate wholesale lies.
The whole truth is that “a very emotional” Ramos – another terrific Trumpianism – was first scolded firmly and told, “Excuse me. Sit down. You weren’t called. Sit down. Sit down.” When Ramos continued to stomp about like the Brothers Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin – a masterful Trump, with no more than a nod of the head, had him escorted out.
Ramos was given a much-needed time-out. (Stop, look and listen, parents. If the nation’s mothers and fathers want fabulous kids like Donald Trump’s, they ought to try conducting themselves this way with their stroppy offspring.)
What occurred thereafter is the Real Story – a story Kelly failed to tell her viewers. Trump was not only masterful, but fair to a fault.
But bear with me a little longer.
First: Most media outlets – from the conservative Drudge Report to the liberal Mediaite – alighted rather oddly on the fleeting and pathetic cross-examination to which Kelly subjected Ramos, during an interview that exemplified misleading journalism. The headlines:
“Megyn to Ramos: Why Would Trump Want to Talk to You?”
Such titles finesse Kelly’s weasel words. The anchor whispered unconvincingly to Ramos: “Why would Trump want to engage with you when you are calling him the most hateful, divisive figure, running for president right now?” She then permitted Ramos to ramble on without once correcting his fibs. For Ramos was claiming that Trump The Dictator had silenced him and was therefore a threat to our very freedoms.
And Kelly let The Big Lie thread the entire segment.
Five minutes and nine seconds into the broadcast, almost imperceptibly, Kelly smuggled The Real Story into her sweetness-and-light exchange with Ramos:
“Even when you came back in …”
That’s the rub: During the Ramos-Trump mic moment, Trump was both magnanimous and Reaganesque (with reference to Ronald Reagan’s 1980, “I am paying for this microphone” moment, in Nashua, New Hampshire). Once Ramos had calmed down (albeit to a blind panic), Mr. Trump invited him back in.
The lengthy exchange Trump pursued with this malevolent moron – that was the “Breaking News” Kelly all but failed to mention.
“The most modern political communicator in this field,” “a great communicator” were the descriptives used by two hostile CNN commentators to characterize Trump’s firm, forthright, masterful control of the Ramos wreck.
As this writer sees it, Trump was doing something much more modest and more valuable.
Common rules of procedure are as traditionally Anglo-American as they come. Instinctively did an ethnic agitator seek to sack a common American custom. As reflexively, Donald Trump moved to restore a timeless, civilizing practice.