It was a brilliant inauguration, and the continued scrapping and strafing between the administration and the bedraggled, sodden mass of the press continues the execution of a new demarcation of power in the federal government that will prove benign. This week’s issues themselves are not important; what is at issue is a contest between the attitudes of the press and the tactics of the administration.
The two signal facts, or “alternative facts” in the well-chosen parlance of the brilliant and engaging co-counselor and victorious campaign manager of the president, Kellyanne Conway, are that public approval of the national news media now stands at 14%, and the allegations the press are now making against the new administration are of no interest to any serious segment of the public.
As a result of these facts, the continued press assault on Donald Trump is much less dangerous even than when it failed to derail his candidacy for the Republican nomination and the election. It was a matter of continuing astonishment, as the campaign unfolded, that his following grew despite his political incorrectness. His references to the danger of “Islamic extremism” and of undesirable forms of immigration, and his debunking of the fraudulence of global-warming claims and of confected charges of misogyny and racism against him, won him more supporters than opponents.
Just as there was an interval between Mr. Trump’s nomination and the election, during which he became substantially less bombastic and, having rallied the Archie Bunker vote, pursued the less vocal but accessible center-right vote, there was a second interval, between the election and the inauguration, during which his more militant opponents grasped at straws to delegitimize the president-elect, or at least restrict his ability to act when Inauguration Day came.