President Donald Trump “is going to win” the “fight” against the liberal mainstream media because he wields their own “narcissism” and “ego” against them and to his own advantage, comedian Jon Stewart told CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour.
Trump has often called out members of the “fake news” media as “the enemy of the people,” much to many reporters’ outrage. And Stewart, who formerly hosted Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” for 16 years, told Amanpour that Trump “baits them and they dive in.”
“I think the journalists have taken it personally,” Stewart said. “They’re personally wounded and offended by this man. He baits them and they dive in. And what he has done well, I thought, is appeal to their own narcissism, to their own ego.”
Journalists “stand up and say, ‘We are noble. We are honorable. How dare you, sir?’ And they take it personally,” Stewart added. “And now he has changed the conversation to not that his policies are silly, or not working, or any of those other things. It’s all about the fight. He is able to tune out everything else and get people just focused on the fight.”
Stewart warned Trump is “going to win that fight” if the outraged media members allow him to do so.
One of the prime examples of Trump’s success in provoking reporters is CNN’s Jim Acosta, who sometimes engages in outraged theatrics during White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ briefings. This past Monday, Acosta tried to goad Sanders into listing specific outlets and reporters who qualify as “the enemy of the people.”
Sanders shut down Acosta’s demand to ask her whether the “fake news” list includes “my outlet, which received the bomb last week?”
Acosta was referring to the string of suspicious packages containing crude explosive devices that suspect Cesar Sayoc sent to prominent Democrats and CNN’s New York City bureau. Many mainstream media members and Democrats suggested Trump and his tough rhetoric were to blame for the mail bomb targeting.
“Shouldn’t you have the guts, Sarah, to state which outlets, which journalists, are the enemy of the people?” Acosta wanted to know.
Sanders refused to go down that path.
Amanpour tried to defend her media peers, telling Stewart, “It’s hard for us to be dispassionate when words from the White House are aggressive against us and, you know, raise the specter of violence against us.”
Stewart replied, “You’re not used to it,” which caused Amanpour to retort, “We are used to it, believe me. We’ve been out there in the field.”
The comedian also implied that mainstream media members love the ratings and money they’re raking in during the Trump era.
“You’ve got to make money, too!” Stewart said. “You have bills to pay, man. You’ve got electric bills, you’ve got food. This guy is — he’s giving you all cash. The cash flow in the Trump era for these TV stations and for these news —”
But Amanpour dismissed that, cutting him off and saying, “Can I say, that might have been an issue and maybe it still is an issue for the people who are the bean counters, but we the journalists — we, I think, believe that our job is to navigate the truth and to do the fact checking and all the rest of it.”