CNN’s resident Donald Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany, whose pundit gig insisting the president is really playing 4D chess none of us can understand came to an abrupt end on Saturday, now has a new job reading pro-Trump propaganda online.
McEnany has secured a gig regurgitating the administration’s preferred “real news” on Trump’s official Facebook page, which appears to be part of the president’s ongoing efforts to cut the media middleman out of his messaging to supporters.
The faux news show was originally launched and hosted by Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump in July and continues off of other similar campaign-era efforts to mimic actual news shows. But the first broadcast featuring McEnany was uploaded on Sunday, which would seem to indicate a new phase featuring a dedicated host with some TV experience.
It’s unclear whether Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign or the Republican National Committee funded the program, but its production values rank somewhere between a stoned teenager using the green-screen exhibit at the Newseum and Jeff Bezos’ Instagram debut. Seriously, it’s terrible, consisting mostly of dull recitations of misleading statistics the president already tweeted about and videos of Trump holding dumb signs or slouching behind podiums.
“More great economic news on Friday,” McEnany, who legitimately comes across like someone taken hostage by Stephen Miller, preaches to the choir. “The July jobs report added a better than expected 209,000 jobs. Overall, since the president took office, President Trump has created more than one million jobs. The unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, and consumer confidence is at a 16-year-high, all while the DOW Jones continues to break records.”
“President Trump has clearly steered the economy back in the right direction,” McEnany added. Later, touting the RAISE Act, a proposal with the main intention of limiting nonwhite immigration, McEnany added, “Americans deserve a raise, and President Trump is finally putting the American worker first.”
Other components of the broadcast included Trump holding a sign saying “Trump Digs Coal,” Trump awarding the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War veteran, and Trump standing in front of cheering crowds at rallies. Yawn.
Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s replacement for axed communications director Sean Spicer, lasted just 10 days in that job but had reportedly plotted a grand vision on the basis that “POTUS is the greatest TV star in history. Comms should produce video content that constructively operates as ‘The President Donald J. Trump’ show.”
Scaramucci’s plan noted, “Rather than traditional press conferences, POTUS should take questions from real citizens via Facebook live and/or other social media platforms.”
There’s definitely something disconcerting about seeing the White House decide it can just try to cut the media out of the loop entirely. Sure, social media is powerful, and this is just another disconcerting signal Trump prefers ego-stroking propaganda to reality.
But this effort reeks of the laziest content from news publishers making frantic pivots to video with a fresh twist of Trump Steaks-quality campaign advertising. This isn’t a next-gen White House comms strategy, it’s weariness and apathy posing as one, designed to do nothing but prod the president’s diminishing number of supporters into throwing a few more bucks his way.
For better or for worse, the social media filter bubble is real, and it looks like the White House has decided to retreat further into its own shrinking bubble. As for McEnany, I don’t think she’s thought out this plan long term, do you?