While President Obama caught a lot of heat throughout his Presidency for calling on Fox News reporters less frequently than other reporters, the current President is interfering in our free press in an exponentially more damaging way.
When most Americans envision Trump interfering in the norms of our free press, they likely think about all the times he yells ‘fake news,’ or calls the press the ‘enemy of the people’. While these kinds of actions are incredibly damaging to the country, what is even more harmful are those actions which Trump takes with his allies in the media.
Yesterday, Michael Avenatti, made the following tweet:
Yeah, it’s a complete coincidence that @AlanDersh defends Mr. Trump at every turn and then Mr. Trump endorses his book. Alan should have held out for more – he sold out cheap. #Basta pic.twitter.com/JTtsnxUB4T
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) July 28, 2018
Avenatti points out the clear quid pro quo of the situation, in which attorney Alan Dershowitz continues to support the President on television, while in return the President helps him profit by tweeting an endorsement of Dershowitz’s book to his 53 million followers. This one instance, however, is just a tiny blip on the entire Trump/media quid pro quo map. In fact, the President makes it a regular occurrence to tweet out endorsements of those who support him the greatest. Below are just a handful of the examples I found over the past 9 months alone:
July 24, 2018 – Gregg Jarrett Book Endorsement:
Jarrett is a Fox News anchor, who regularly attacks Trump’s opponents, while supporting Trump and his crazy ‘witch hunt’ claims:
“The Russia Hoax, The Illicit Scheme To Clear Hillary Clinton & Frame Donald Trump” is a Hot Seller, already Number One! More importantly, it is a great book that everyone is talking about. It covers the Rigged Witch Hunt brilliantly. Congratulations to Gregg Jarrett!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
June 30, 2018 – Sean Spicer Book Endorsement:
Spicer, Trump’s former press secretary continues to support the president on his book tour.
A friend of mine and a man who has truly seen politics and life as few others ever will, Sean Spicer, has written a great new book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.” It is a story told with both heart and knowledge. Really good, go get it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2018
June 22, 2018 – Jeanine Pirro Book Endorsement:
Pirro, a former prosecutor, politician and now Fox News host, consistently attacks the Mueller probe, while backing Trump’s almost insane claims against the probe. Recently she told America that it’s “time to end” the Mueller probe..
Our great Judge Jeanine Pirro is out with a new book, “Liars, Leakers and Liberals, the Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy,” which is fantastic. Go get it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2018
May 4, 2018 – Andy Puzder Book Endorsement:
Puzder, Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, who ended up withdrawing his nomination, donated over $330,000 to Trump’s 2016 campaign with his wife. Trump paid him back with a book endorsement, since his Labor Secretary nomination fell apart.
Great book just out by very successful businessman @AndyPuzder. Always known as somebody who knows how to win, “Capitalist Comeback” will be a big hit!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2018
May 2, 2018 – Ainsley Earnhardt Book Endorsement:
Described by fellow media as ‘Trump’s Most Devout and Shameless Sycophant on Fox & Friends,’ this Fox News host seems to try and please the President every chance that she gets.
Ainsley Earnhardt, a truly great person, just wrote a wonderful book, “The Light Within Me,” which is doing really well. She is very special and so is her new book…bring it to number one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
March 25, 2018 – Howie Carr Book Endorsement:
Howie Carr, a conservative radio talk-show host, is one of Trump’s biggest supporters. He has, in the past attacked those who attack Trump, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren.
.@HowieCarrShow just wrote a book which everyone is talking about. He was a great help. He is a veteran journalist who had a great influence in NH and beyond. He calls it the most amazing political campaign of modern times. The book is called, “What Really Happened.” Enjoy! #MAGA pic.twitter.com/jYhjpoJKHe
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2018
December 16, 2017 – Corey Lewandowski Book Endorsement:
Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, is now a political commentator for One America News Network (OANN), CNN and Fox News. He is consistently supporting the President, his policies, and the Trump White House in general. He went as far as to mock immigrant children on CNN in order to stick up for Trump’s child separation policy.
Congratulations to two great and hardworking guys, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, on the success of their just out book, “Let Trump Be Trump.” Finally people with real knowledge are writing about our wonderful and exciting campaign!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2017
December 7, 2017 – Brian Kilmeade Book Endorsement:
Another Fox & Friends personality, Kilmeade constantly praises the President.
Go get the new book on Andrew Jackson by Brian Kilmeade…Really good. @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2017
October 20, 2017 – Dr. Robert Jeffress Book Endorsement
Most pastors wouldn’t likely excuse someone’s adultery, but Dr. Jeffress did just that in a Fox News interview, comparing Trump’s infidelity to that of Reagan being a womanizer. It appears to have served him well:
Great book just out, “A Place Called Heaven,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress – A wonderful man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
Behavior like this, rewarding positive coverage by providing free publicity for one’s book, certainly isn’t something this President should be proud of, but with a Congress that’s controlled by Republicans and an ethics committee which seems to hate ethics, nothing will likely change until November, at the earliest. I have my own children’s book coming out in November, called “How the People Trumped Ronald Plump”. Perhaps I too should simply start tweeting positive things at the President. Perhaps it will earn me one or two million bucks. On second thought, Mr. Trump can’t see my tweets anyway because he has unconstitutionally blocked me on Twitter.