President Trump has some in the media uneasy about what they are calling an attempt by him and his supporters to create a type of “state-run” news outlet.
Trump’s personal Facebook page — not the White House’s Facebook page — is producing what it calls “real news” video clips that summarize what the administration did in recent days.
The first one was published July 30 and showed Lara Trump, wife of the president’s son Eric, touting “all of the accomplishments” of the White House that viewers may have missed due to “all of the fake news out there.”
Behind Lara Trump is a backdrop with Trump’s 2016 campaign pattern. After describing Trump having donated his government salary to the Department of Education, the unemployment rate, and “cracking down on MS-13 gangs,” Lara signed off by telling viewers that “that is the real news.” It has since received more than 2 million views.
A near-identical video was posted Sunday, this time presented by former CNN contributor Kayleigh McEnany, a Trump supporter. That video already has more than 1 million views.
The videos are similar to the glossy and finely produced videos that produced by the Obama White House. As recently as January, before he left office, the White House posted video on Facebook of Obama discussing “household incomes rising” with his economic adviser Jason Furman.
But in the context of Trump’s sustained attacks on the media, some journalists have found them alarming.
Matt O’Brien, a writer for the Washington Post, commented Sunday on Twitter, “I wonder how CNN feels about one of their contributors being able to so seamlessly transition into actual propaganda.” McEnany officially announced her departure from CNN the day before O’Brien’s tweet.
“How very Soviet,” remarked conservative blogger and radio host Erick Erickson.
Liberal commentator Keith Olbermann said the intention of the new “Trump TV” was “to REPLACE The News.”
Suspicion among the media that Trump is trying to subvert their role in democracy is not new, nor is the concept of a supposed “Trump TV.”
The New York Times reported a month before the election that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, now a senior White House adviser, had “discussed the possibility of a Trump-branded television network with a friend who has helped guide such deals.”
An official “Trump TV” has never materialized but still, some in the media say the videos posted on the president’s Facebook account are cause for concern.
The popular website Vox said last week that the videos would be “another avenue for Trump to push out administration and campaign messaging.”
Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Nicolle Wallace said the videos show Trump has “given up on the free media and now he’s making his own media.”