“Trump’s inauguration was the biggest, I swear”

Media capitulation.

To: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

From: Rex Huppke, formerly dishonest member of the disgusting media

Subject: I agree with everything you say

First off, I would like to applaud your courage in standing up to my media colleagues over the weekend to state definitively that photographs showing sparse attendance at President Donald Trump‘s inauguration didn’t show sparse attendance at President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Nearly every media outlet laughed at you on the fact-obsessed basis that you were lying through your teeth to protect a president whose ego is apparently too fragile to acknowledge weak turnout.

But I’m here to tell you, Mr. Spicer, that I believe you. And I’ll tell you why.

Your partner in truth-eradication, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, defended you Sunday by saying you were simply introducing “alternative facts.”

When “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd had the temerity to tell Conway that alternative facts are “falsehoods,” she said: “I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

I, for one, value my relationship with you and Ms. Conway and don’t want that relationship rethought. So, unlike the many dishonest slobs in my profession, I gladly embrace alternative facts in all their nebulous wonder.

That’s why, Mr. Spicer, I truly believe everything you said about the inauguration. Everything and more.

Ok, it’s an ‘alternative capitulation’.

In conclusion…

…Mr. Spicer, I congratulate you for standing up for alternative facts, and I want you to know that you can count on me to report exactly what you say, verbatim, without ever doubting a word for any reason.

I was moved by the billions who gathered on the National Mall on Inauguration Day. And by the unicorns. And the stately dragons. And the obvious hugeness of all aspects of President Trump.

And I’m here to tell the American people just what you want them to hear, so they too can believe in unicorns. And dragons. In free casino chips and summer days in winter and all other forms of make-believe.

Because, if I’m getting my alternative facts straight, that appears to be exactly what you and Ms. Conway have in mind.

From Column: Trump’s inauguration was the biggest, I swear

Spiced up crowd sizes

Despite Donald Trump saying he would hit the ground running in his presidency, dealing with the important things, his first appearance was in front of a receptive (and self selected) CIA crowd where he blasted media as amongst the most dishonest human beings he knows, and blew his own trumpet. He is well known for his self praise.

Trump is known to be very keen on ratings, and has made claims about false reporting of crowd sizes at his inauguration.

His press secretary Sean Spicer called a special press conference, which turned out to be a little more than an attack on media while making more claims about crowd sizes. Claims that have been proven to be false, which is ironic given he blasted the media for false reporting.

Gezza reports:

Aljazeera 7am News. “Kellyanne Conway says Sean Spicer inaccurately described crowds.”

The Atlantic reports: Trump’s Press Secretary Falsely Claims: ‘Largest Audience Ever to Witness an Inauguration, Period’

In his first official White House briefing, Sean Spicer blasted journalists for “deliberately false reporting,” and made categorical claims about crowd-size at odds with the available evidence.

High irony.

In his first appearance in the White House briefing room since President Trump’s inauguration, Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivered an indignant statement Saturday night condemning the media’s coverage of the inauguration crowd size, and accusing the press of “deliberately false reporting.”

Standing next to a video screen that showed the crowd from President Trump’s vantage point, Spicer insisted that media outlets had “intentionally framed” their photographs to minimize its size. After attacking journalists for sharing unofficial crowd-size estimates—“no one had numbers,” he said—he proceeded to offer a categorical claim of his own. “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” he said, visibly outraged. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

But it was Spicer who was wrong.

Steve Doig, a professor of journalism at Arizona State University, has provided estimates of crowds at past inaugurals, and is well-versed in the challenges they present.

Based on the photographs available in the media showing the part of the crowd that was on the mall, he said, “the claim that this is the largest ever is ludicrous on its face.”

Spicer produced numbers that have been refuted.

The only numbers Spicer cited were ridership numbers from WMATA, the D.C. public-transit system. “We know that 420,000 people used D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural,” he said.

But the figures Spicer offered were not consistent with those provided by WMATA officials, who told the Washington Post that 570,557 riders used the Metro system between its 4 a.m. opening and its midnight closure on Friday. That number falls short of both President Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inaugurations, which saw 1.1 million trips and 782,000 trips respectively.

And it was not just fewer in attendance.

Preliminary Nielsen figures also show that Trump’s inauguration received fewer average TV viewers in the United States than Obama’s first inauguration. The Los Angeles Times reported that 30.6 million viewers tuned in for Friday’s ceremonies, 19 percent below the 37.8 million viewers who watched in 2009.

Why does this matter?

It shows that Trump has carried an obsession with ratings (he recently tweeted that the new ‘Apprentice’ didn’t rate as well as when he ran it) into his presidency.

It shows that claims of ‘false news’ directed at media are not always correct, and in fact his press secretary appears to have presented false information and false claims.

And it shows that despite having a big and game changing agenda ego may be more important to Trump than communicating what he is going to do.

There also seems to be a deliberate strategy to divert public and media attention, perhaps in this case from the huge women’s march protests.

The media certainly need to up their game substantially, but as part of that they need to still hold the new president to account. If they are pressured into reporting more thoughtfully and accurately that will be a good thing.

And if Trump and Spicer divert and try to spin fake news they should be held to account on that.

I’ve just watched a number of video clips from Fox News, and there are very mixed reactions to Trump’s CIA speech and to Spicer’s attack. Some support Trump and criticise his critics, but others are very critical of Trump’s first weekend as PR president, including Fox’s political editor Chris Stirewalt.

Moving on from Trump’s speech

There have been many interpretations of one of the most picked over speeches in history, President Trump’s inauguration speech.

Some see it as a unifying speech for all American people (that is, the United States of American people, not the other North Americans, the Central Americans or the South Americans).

Others think that it targets white Americans and alienates others.

While the speech will have been very carefully crafted and checked before going to air it is impossible to prevent negative interpretations. While many people only see good in President Trump, many others only see evil.

Trump has spoken publicly a lot over the past two years, through the Republican primaries, through the presidential campaign, and since then leading up to his inauguration.

He has talked and talked and talked the talk.

Now it’s time for him to walk the walk. Trump is president, that’s a done deal. Now the real dealing begins. He acknowledged this in his speech:

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

We won’t know how he will be as President until we see what he actually does. It may take years to get a good idea whether his radical ideas and unconventional approach works or faisl.

There will be some some successes and some failures. The US and the world waits, with some hoping the pluses outweigh the minuses, and others in dread.

If Trump is true to his word his biggest battle won’t be with immigrants or ISIS or China or Russia, it will be Washington.

How Washington reacts will have a major influence on Trump’s presidency. Washington is probably the biggest bureaucracy in the world.

Saying ‘drain the swamp’ is easy, and it was a successful campaign slogan.

Draining the excesses and inefficiencies, while maintaining and rebuilding a functioning capital, will be a massive task.

Trump has promised to give power to the people.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The people have never been the rulers of the nation, they just get to vote occasionally.

The people, or at least some of the people, voted for Trump’s biggest promise – to give them power, for Washington to listen to them and work for them.

This is Trump’s biggest challenge.

The people didn’t come

In his inauguration speech Donald trump said “You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

It’s not clear exactly what he was referring to there. But it appears to not be about the crowd at his inauguration.

From Vox: Photos: the crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration vs. Barack Obama’s

Taken at about 11:30 AM ET in 2009 at Barack Obama’s inauguration:

gettyimages_84374977

Taken at about 11:04 AM ET in 2017 at Donald Trump’s inauguration:

screen_shot_2017_01_20_at_11-04-49_am

Federal and local agencies have estimated that anywhere from 700,000 to 900,000 people will be in Washington, DC, today for Trump’s inauguration. That’s roughly half the number of people who attended Obama’s inauguration in 2009. It’s also less than the turnout for Obama’s 2013 inauguration, which drew 1 million people.

Trump has a lot to do if he wants to be a popular president.

President Trump

20 January 2017 in the United States of America

trumphailtothechief

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.”

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

“America will start winning again, winning like never before.”

“I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.”

“We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.”

“We will shine for everyone to follow.”

“We will unite the civilized world against radical Islam, which we will eradicate from the face of the earth.”

“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

“When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

“We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.”

“We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.”

“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:You will never be ignored again. ”

“Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again. And yes, together we will make America great again.”

Full text of President Trump’s speech.

And for balance, here it is at Fox.