Why Do Trump's Supporters Allow Him to Insult Their Intelligence?

Instead of complaining about actual flaws in media coverage, the president airs a fabricated grievance.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

President Trump regularly pushes incorrect information to the millions of people who follow him on Twitter. At times, his untruths are extremely easy to disapprove, as if Trump regards his supporters as easily manipulated idiots, even as his falling approval ratings suggest that more and more Americans are abandoning him every month.

Look at what he said Monday afternoon:

Trump supporters deserve the truth.

In this case, the truth is that before Trump complained that the media would not talk about the importance of the UN vote, scores of articles had already been written.

The Washington Post’s coverage has included “Trump’s Big Win on North Korea,” “U.N. Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea Following Missile Test,” “Trump Touts New Sanctions on North Korea,” “What the New Sanctions on North Korea Mean,” and “North Korea says it won’t give up nuclear weapons and that entire U.S. mainland is within firing range.”

The New York Times published articles including these:

The Los Angeles Times ran a front page tease in the Sunday newspaper and gave page three over to the story:

NBC News covered the UN vote. ABC News covered it. CBS News covered it, too. All three networks published and broadcast a lot of related coverage. And the major outlets I’ve linked represent just a fraction of “mainstream media” coverage of the UN sanctions vote as well as the larger nuclear conflict with North Korea.

Nearly every major outlet treated it as an important story.

Only two conclusions are possible here: either Trump is deeply ignorant of the subject he is tweeting about, or he is a liar. Either way, he ought to show some respect for the truth. Trump could easily complain about media bias without misleading his base. Many thousands of news articles are published every day. He could always find an example somewhere that lends itself to a legitimate critique. If the president flagged aptly chosen content like that he might even spark positive change.

But Trump didn’t bother to find an example of flawed coverage somewhere. He just made up a complaint out of whole cloth, breezily misleading his followers about the world.

That insults their intelligence; he should stop.