Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
A major media outlet gets under the skin of the president. That president goes on social media to label said news network “fake news” and in return, network lashes out at president and spends much time on obvious anti-network bias with roundtables and pointed chyrons.
This scenario isn’t just familiar, it’s one of the great love stories of our time.
Although other networks and many online destinations are highlighted in the social media musings of the 45th president, none is as routinely targeted as CNN. We expect the back-and-forth. It’s often amusing (in a nauseating sort of way) and never surprising. The most recent example is just the latest in the ongoing drama that is their mutual obsession with one another.
CNN on Wednesday fired back at President Trump for his comments lashing out at the network, writing on Twitter that “CNN does not lie.”
The comments from came shortly after Trump stepped up his attacks against CNN and veteran reporter Carl Berstein over a July report about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
“Make no mistake, Mr. President, CNN does not lie,” the official Twitter account for CNN Communications tweeted late Wednesday. “We report the news. And we report when people in power tell lies. CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters.
It is patently obvious that CNN loves all the attention it receives from the president and his statements. On the other hand, the president enjoys being the center of discussion by the outlet he seems to hate the most. It’s a symbiotic relationship and fans of both can’t get enough of the confirmation bias.
Neither CNN nor Donald J. Trump has a spotless record when it comes to accuracy. This may shock fans of the latter, but the news network is not always incorrect. They have reported on issues of substance surrounding the man and his administration. They have asked questions that are worth asking. However, they often forego the Ben Shapiro model of “Good Trump/Bad Trump” in favor of “the apocalypse is nearing” approach. Despite their obvious and continued fixation on the most minute, insignificant details, there are moments of appropriate concern that don’t appear on the always Trump-friendly FOX News channel.
On the flip side, President Trump, though intense as he may be when sounding off about unfair treatment, isn’t just reacting from emotion and no facts. He is right to question the often predatory nature of the mainstream media and its fabrication and spin on what truly happens in the White House as well as during his outside appearances. Trump is aware that the media at large is run by left-leaning types who prefer to focus only on the bad and ignore the good.
But these two entities share one thing in common: they don’t want their enemy to stop.
The respective audiences are not about to remove their support, either. CNN has a loyal and committed fanbase eager to defend them against any attacks from the president of the United States. Meanwhile, Donald J. Trump’s “tough guy” persona is only bolstered when he fights against targeted attacks by a media company that is viciously hated by those on the right.
At this point, it’s one big reality show.
So long as the president labels any media adversary as “fake news” and they act as if they’ve been criticized for doing the Lord’s work, the cycle will continue. Fans will react and get into online fistfights. The diehard members of each clique will shake their heads and say, “Can you believe they did that again?”
Yes, we can believe. CNN desires to be at odds with one of the most polarizing political figures of all time. In return, a populist president would rather be leered at by the coastal media elites. It does his brand some good.
Woven through the weekly drama is the desire for more of it. It is this adrenaline-pumping outrage that emboldens cheerleaders and critics alike.
It’s true love.