"The press is the enemy of the people", says Donald Trump. He's right.
Of course the statement means entirely different things to him and the rest of Cult 45 and to me.
Trump is seeking to subvert accountability by creating distrust in democratic institutions and the "press".
The conventional print media are an important estate literally pressing for accountability.
In his cultivation of the meme "fake news" Trump seeks to substitute what his mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway calls "alternative facts".
When I say "the media, and to a lesser extent the print press, does a disservice to the democracy and therefore, the people," I'm not just being long-winded but am trying to express my concerns about the way the media and Trump serve each others' interests.
Of course I'm talking about money. And the sacrifice of substantive debate.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump received $5.2 billion worth of free publicity.
In her self-exonerating book of the campaign Hillary Clinton acknowledges Trump's figures, while complaining that she received only $3.1b.
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Not mentioned was the piddling $375 million of free publicity accorded to Bernie Sanders.
Les Moonves, the former head of CBS (before his firing over credible evidence of bullying and sexual harassment) claimed that while Trump was bad for the country, his TV appearances were good for CBS, in terms of advert revenue.
That standard, of profit over service or quality has continued to the present, a present in which Trump successfully dominates the media, which in the hunger for news that the 24-hour reporting cycle represents, fills its barrenness with every quote, every Twitter feed that the President deigns to emit.
With the exception of President John F. Kennedy, whose humour and Irish charm seduced the press into docile stenography, most Presidents since, have maintained a cordial, but adversarial relationship with the press.
Trump has carried this further than any of his predecessors into an outright hostile atmosphere and finally to the extinction of conventional press briefings by which preceding administrations conveyed policy to the public through the intermediary of reporters.
The formal briefings have by now disappeared and given way to shoutings or bye-bye questions flung at the departing President on the White House driveway.
Trump has instead used Twitter as his preferred means for communicating directly with citizens.
Or by phone conversations with his favoured supporters on "Fox and Friends" or with Sean Hannity, a Fox commentator turned overt political ally, contrary to conventional reportorial ethics.
Ethics have nothing to do with it. It's entirely about winning, as the new TV series The Loudest Voice makes clear. And winning means both money and revenge on perceived past slights.
The mini-series starring our own Russell Crowe in a brilliant performance as Roger Ailes, the late CEO of Fox News, is based on a similarly titled book by Gabriel Sherman.
Sherman's book describes in painful detail the career and character of Ailes, who built Fox for Rupert Murdoch and led it from 1995 to 2016, when he was fired in a sexual harassment scandal.
As the New Yorker's Troy Patterson puts it; "Fox News programming is essentially a propagandistic edit of Ailes' own conservatism — nakedly self-interested, casually jingoistic, tacitly white supremacist, theatrically aggrieved, and guided by the kind of military-industrial-strength view of the world propounded on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. But otherwise not very ideological, really."
The description fits not only Roger Ailes but also Trump, himself.
What Ailes and Fox News have succeeded in doing is forcing the other networks to compete on their terms, terms in which real information, fact-based and dispassionate is sacrificed to the demands for a soundbite, that can be endlessly looped and replayed for emotional effect.
Sadly, to the detriment of those who want to preserve democracy, that same mindset, of moderators demanding one-word answers to significant policy questions was on display at the recent Democratic debates.
Democrats need policy driven debate, not mindless quiz show format.
That's where Trump wins.