Think: Michael Beschloss, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley. All three are historians who have pored over thousands and thousands of letters written by presidents over the last 200 plus years. And in so doing, helped us understand our history, our democracy.
Now think: Greta Van Susteren. Presidential historian? She has pored over roughly 500 presidential tweets over the course of 100 days.
Yes, I know what you are thinking: What’s wrong with this picture? A lot!
But face it, this is 2017 and we have a president who doesn’t have a quill and an ink bowl. He has an iPhone and 140 characters. So do you, so do I. What is hard to come to grips with is this: President Trump is the “tweeter-in-chief.” We have a tweeting president, and a very active one at that. I just have not yet gotten used it.
While he has tweeted the occasional self-described “clinker,” the truth is Trump has outsmarted us in the media. He has figured out he can go around us and speak directly to the people. And face it, Trump can do math. He has checked the numbers and realized that an appearance on a successful cable show will get him a few million viewers at best, but his two Twitter accounts? A combined following of more than 45 million followers.
Yes, I know — this just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem right to me. But alas, this is 2017 and maybe we — maybe I — will get used to it.
I do worry that bypassing the media, avoiding the question and follow-up questions, is not good for the nation and neither is communicating in only 140 characters. These are serious times with serious issues and somehow this feels more like a game of cat and mouse with the media. The people need more … but I digress.