Despite MSM Ridicule, New 'Trump TV' Draws Millions of Views

Posted: Aug 07, 2017 1:00 PM

If you think you've seen that face before, but you can't quite place it, here's a hint:  From the Trump Train's perspective, she did yeoman's work throughout the campaign and beyond, defending Trump against all manner of criticism on heavily-stacked panels assembled by the Trump-denounced "Clinton News Network."  From another perspective, she won CNN's silver medal for knee-jerk pro-Trump spin, trailing only this man.  That's right, cable news fans, it's Kayleigh McEnany -- whose appearances on the network have become conspicuously scarcer in recent weeks.  Now we know why.  She was on her way out the door to join Trump's (literal) in-house propaganda outfit (see update below), making her personal debut over the weekend.  According to the network's media reporter, McEnany made the jump entirely of her own volition:

More details from Deadline:

Kayleigh McEnany...seems to have made the short leap from surrogate to campaign employee: This morning, McEnany hosted a taped news-of-the-week segment on Donald Trump’s official Facebook page...McEnany signaled her CNN departure yesterday with a non-specific Tweet from her Twitter account that now describes her as a “Former CNN Commentator...” McEnany ends the Facebook video with what could be her weekly sign-off: “Thank you for joining us, everybody. I’m Kayleigh McEnany, and that’s the real news.” By 11:30 a.m. ET, the Sunday morning posting had scored about 250,000 views.

As of midday today, this clip has attracted 1.2 million views on Facebook:

That's on top of the 2.3 million views (and tens of thousands of shares, likes and comments) racked up by the original installment, featuring a Trump daughter-in-law.  I've seen some social media hand-wringing comparing this to state television propaganda from totalitarian regimes -- and I'll concede that (a) there are striking similarities, and (b) that conservatives would be blasting and ridiculing Obama for a similar effort (though the previous administration had fewer reasons to attempt to bypass a largely supportive and compliant press).  But it's hardly unprecedented for American political operations and campaigns to use video platforms to help push a message or drive a narrative.  In that respect, the McEnany video is rather pedestrian -- walking viewers through the latest jobs numbers, touting a new policy proposal, and highlighting a White House ceremony honoring the heroic exploits of a Vietnam veteran.  Honestly, given all the media scrutiny of Trump's myriad controversies and the Russia investigation, it's hard to blame his crew for devising methods of drawing more attention to economic progress.  There's a striking disconnect between voters' dour views of Trump and their increasingly sunny outlook on what is consistently ranked as their top policy concern. On that score, I'll leave you with this description of the July jobs report:

If you strip away the spin, it was a good set of numbers – even “near perfect,” as Thomas Simons of Jeffries called it. With the expansion entering its ninth year, and already the second longest on record, now’s the time to be looking for signs it is coming to an end. Friday’s report offered none. Job growth was solid, but not strong enough to spook the Fed. Wage growth picked up, but not enough to threaten inflation. Discouraged workers began making their way back into the job market, indicating that despite an unemployment rate of just 4.3%, there’s still some slack to fuel future growth. An important milestone was passed: the Hamilton Project calculated the U.S. job market has finally fully recovered from the Great Recession. And The Wall Street Journal calculated layoffs are at their lowest level in half a century.

Oh, and remember 'point B' above?  It...wasn't a hypothetical:

One difference, it seems, is that the press didn't freak out when Obama did it, so it didn't get much attention at all -- with apologies to any hardcore West Wing Week fanatics still smarting over its cancellation.  With so much star power on that show, it's amazing it never gained real traction in the ratings.

UPDATE - The Daily Beast has additional specifics on the production of 'Trump TV,' and Kayleigh McEnany has officially landed a new gig: