Writer L. Brent Bozell III: Media will decide if Donald Trump gets another term
Conservative writer L. Brent Bozell III, who along with author Tim Graham just released “Unmasked: Big Media’s War Against Trump,” was sure that he would have no warm feelings toward then-candidate Donald Trump when given the chance to interview him a few years ago.
“I was prepared not to like him,” Bozell told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “I just didn’t like the public persona that we’d known for years — braggadocios, pompous, arrogant.”
However, he the man Bozell met surprised him.
“When you spent an hour alone with him, you visited with somebody who was completely different,” he said. “He was quiet, he was probing, he was solicitous, he was engaging, he was warm, he was courteous — all the things I didn’t expect.”
Predicting a Donald Trump loss
Before 2016, Bozell assumed the next resident of the White House would be Ted Cruz, perhaps with a cabinet position offered to Donald Trump. In fact, Bozell even told Trump to his face that he did not have a chance of winning.
Knowing that Trump had famously changed his political affiliation several times — throughout the 2000s, he was registered as a Democrat — Bozell did not see Trump currying favor among conservatives, who had no idea if he would stay on the Right while in office, or continue the political ping pong game.
“Virtually all conservatives have to admit that even if you supported him from the beginning, you didn’t expect him to be this conservative, and have this level of commitment,” he said.
In February 2016, Bozell joined 21 other prominent conservatives across the nation, including Washington-born TV host Glenn Beck and KTTH’s Michael Medved, in writing op-eds for the National Review on why they did not support Trump. Bozell sang the praises of Ted Cruz, comparing him to President Ronald Reagan for his longtime commitment to GOP values.
“Donald Trump, up until the moment he decided to run, was a Hillary Clinton supporter, he was a Planned Parenthood supporter, he was a liberal Democrat supporter,” Bozell said. “So he didn’t walk with us.”
That publication, Bozell said, unexpectedly became “the Bible for the ‘never Trump’ movement.”
The press and the president
“Unmasked” explores the relationship between the commander-in-chief and the nearly-always-negative media coverage of him. The conclusion Bozell and Graham reach is that the media, through its coverage of the Trump presidency, is ruining its reputation permanently.
“This is a story about a media who tried to destroy Donald Trump, and destroyed themselves instead,” he said.
Why has the media been so critical of Trump? In Bozell’s eyes, it’s a “perfect storm of three different issues.”
First, he said, Trump was a threat to the media because he wanted to undo, and has undone, changes made by Barack Obama during his time in office.
Second, “they hate him personally.”
“He was their creation, he was Hollywood’s creation,” Bozell said. “And they realized they created a monster, that’s how they saw it. They ridiculed him when he first ran … and as he got stronger and stronger, they looked with increasing horror at this monster they’d created.”
Third, Trump was the first president in history to “declare war on” the media.
“It’s true that Richard Nixon despised the media, it’s true that the media and Ronald Reagan did not have great love for each other,” Bozell said. “But neither Nixon nor Reagan nor anyone ever made it such a frontal assault, and in fact, made it issue number-one, repeated every single day.”
The result, he said, will be catastrophic for media outlets across the country.
“They’ll never regain the credibility, because people will see them as being so Left-wing and having picked sides, ideologically, which ruins their credibility,” he said.
The media’s power in 2020
Long-term credibility aside, how will this play out in 2020? Bozell sees two possibilities.
“One, the media will have done enough damage already, or will be able to do enough damage between now and the election, to [cost] him two or three ticks in the polls,” he said. “That’s enough — those two or three percentage points, in a close race, [are] enough to deliver the presidency to the other side.”
In the other scenario, the media could actually end up benefiting Trump by angering lukewarm Trump supporters enough to go and rally around him fervently.
“The media could so embolden his base to work for him and to vote for him … they could go out and they could cause Donald Trump [to gain] two or three percentage points, and give him the victory,” Bozell said.
Whatever the outcome, Bozell is sure that the media will have played an overwhelming role.
“The media will be the decisive factor in the 2020 campaign,” he said.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.