CNN Brings On Ben Stein To Talk About Trump… He Ends Up Destroying CNN Instead
by Jeff Neukom
Appearing on CNN over the weekend, actor and political analyst Ben Stein defended President Donald Trump’s decision to forgo the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Stein told CNN host Brianna Keilar that he believes Trump’s decision to skip the dinner was reasonable, considering the president likely wasn’t interested in attending only to become a “punching bag in person” for the media.
“Look, every day you pick up The New York Times, every day they’re slamming, slamming, slamming [Trump]. I’m a great fan of CNN; I watch it quite faithfully, every day CNN is slamming him, slamming him, slamming him,” Stein said. “Every day, they’re looking for a scandal. They’re just turning the woods upside down looking for a scandal. They’re hoping, I think, to do to him what they did to Nixon a long time ago. And you still haven’t found any real scandals.”
Stein said another similarity between the media’s treatment of Trump and its treatment of former president Richard Nixon is the focus on “one tiny little thing” to discuss, ignoring any positive accomplishments the president may have had.
“They’re trying to undo him basically before he even gets started,” Stein contended.
Stein’s interview comes on the heels of the latest development of Trump’s feud with the “mainstream media,” a feud that has been escalated by a spike in misleading or debunked news stories.
For instance, Time magazine reporter Zeke Miller falsely reported that the Trump administration had removed the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. The story was later proven false. A week later, a fictitious story surfaced that Trump flickered the White House lights on and off to signal to Fox News that he was watching them that morning.
Trump also radically diverged from tradition in Friday’s White House press briefing, normally an affair open to all reporters with press credentials. The briefing with White House press secretary Sean Spicer was not open to many of the outlets Trump has gone to bat with, such as The New York Times, Politico and BuzzFeed.
Trump described the media and what he has dubbed “fake news” as “the enemy of the people,” leveling that indictment at the media after reports surfaced that the president planned to use the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.
The Associated Press reported the proposal to mobilize up to 100,000 National Guard troops was part of a draft memo being circulated at the Department of Homeland Security.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sharply criticized the report, maintaining that there was “no effort at all” on behalf of the White House to utilize the National Guard for such purposes.
Such reports, Stein said, have spurred Trump and many Americans on to a deep distrust of the media.
“I don’t blame him for being furious at them,” Stein said. “And I think he’s got a lot of company. I’m out there giving speeches all around the country all the time, an awful lot of people are not great fans of the media, and they see the media as an unelected aristocracy … who are dumping all over the mainstream of America.”