2017 will be remembered as the year that slow news cycles, corporate unaccountability, and the mainstream media’s ability to undermine GOP administrations all received a kick in the teeth from President-Elect Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
As the inauguration draws near, liberals have jacked up their panic to max volume and ripped the knob off. Liberal pundits — while unconcerned about Obama’s betrayal of Israel at the U.N. — are certain that each Trump tweet is capable of inciting World War III, while simultaneously crashing the stock market and badly injuring puppies everywhere.
Imagine the liberal meltdown that will ensue when Trump discovers Facebook Live and realizes he doesn’t need their cameras or microphones either.
If Teddy Roosevelt had Twitter, he’d have never stopped tweeting. “We’re building a Canal, and Panama will pay!” or “U.S. Navy will be gr8 again! #CarryBigStick” or “Upton Sinclair is a Crackpot socialist!”
In February 2015, months before Donald Trump hit the political scene, I wrote in the Baltimore Sun that “Social media is a Super Bowl sized platform for free advertising. If a politician learns how to frack it, his or her message will echo through the loudest speaker ever created.” And Donald Trump harnessed it in a way that even I could never have imagined.
Here’s how it used to go:
1.) The president says something.
2.) The media spins it.
3.) The people find out what the president said.
How things will go now:
1.) The president says something.
2.) The people find out what the president said.
3.) The media spins it.
Trump cut out the middleman, and the middleman is livid. Thanks to technology, Trump doesn’t need their ink or their audience — he has his own. That’s why his tweeting has long been the mainstream media’s rhapsodic parrot-gripe. Do a Google news search for “Trump should stop tweeting;” the results are endless. Pick a Trump tweet, scroll through the comments and see how many people are saying “Delete Your Account.” Lots.
But President Trump will never stop tweeting. Why would he? He can change the news cycle in 30 seconds with just his iPhone. He can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and the whole world hears it. He has the biggest megaphone in the history of the world at his disposal. Asking Trump to stop tweeting is like asking Tom Brady to show up to the NFL playoffs wearing handcuffs or asking Michael Phelps to cinch an anchor to his waist before diving into the pool. The liberal logic being, “You keep winning. What you’re doing is very effective. Please stop.”
According to the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, Theodore Roosevelt was “the first [president] to use the media to appeal directly to the people, bypassing the political parties and career politicians.” By harnessing the power of social media, Trump will be the first president to truly bypass the parties, the politicians, and the media. Because, on Twitter, he is the media. He’s the the world’s loudest and most consequential pundit.
Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer said on ABC’s “This Week,” “The fact of the matter is that when he tweets he gets results.”
Of course he does! He’s not even president yet, and he’s already bent companies like Boeing and Carrier to his will. All it took was a couple tweets to get things rolling. Remember? “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”
Other companies will fall in line to avoid the bad PR of being called out. Companies hate when the average Joe takes to Twitter and complains about them. Imagine the nuclear meltdown that consumes corporate HQ when Trump tweets something negative to his 18 million followers, and they retweet it to their followers, and every 24-hour news station covers the tweet non-stop.
Roosevelt, like Trump, was pro-business and pro-capitalism but at the same time believed that corporations should be “so handled as to subserve the public good.” During the American Gilded Age, Roosevelt wrangled the big corporations and got them under control. Now that we live in an international Gilded Age where corporations can make products dirt cheap in developing countries and send them back to be sold on the American market for free, and where open borders and the undocumented workers they produce are allowed to drive down wages all to the corporate benefit, we need a Bull Moose like Teddy Roosevelt to make sure the corporations don’t run over the people.
Corporations are powerful, and pushing back against them leads to resistance from both parties and all the elites. Roosevelt, for instance, wound up so at odds with the #NeverTeddy Republican party bosses, that he eventually broke away from the GOP and started his own party. Today, the names of the party bosses are little historical footnotes that only a handful of people know, while Teddy Roosevelt’s face is carved into a mountain alongside Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. If he’d bowed down to the party bosses and the media instead of being bold, somebody else’s face would be up there.
Using Twitter, Trump proved he didn’t need the media’s ink — all he needed was his iPhone. Imagine the liberal meltdown that will ensue when Trump discovers Facebook Live and realizes he doesn’t need their cameras or microphones either.
Eddie Zipperer is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College and regular LifeZette contributor.