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Corporate Media Appears To Just Now Be Learning How Fundraising Works

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When they discovered Donald Trump had hosted a roundtable meeting at Mar-a-Lago with invited guests from the oil and gas industry, many legacy media platforms responded as if news of a politician making promises at a fundraiser had never happened in America before.

Some of the reports brought to mind the famous scene in “Casablanca” in which the French inspector declares he is “shocked! Shocked to find gambling going on in here!”

The meeting, organized by Oklahoma oil man Harold Hamm, took place on April 11, yet most media outlets failed to report on it until this week, in what almost appeared to be a coordinated effort to amplify the story. The Washington Post beat everyone to the punch with an initial report on April 17, but saw fit to file a second amid this week’s feeding frenzy, with the New York Times, Politico, The Hill, The Guardian, Reuters, Axios, and an array of other Democrat-friendly legacy outlets piling on.

So, what was the big news? The Washington Post’s initial story focused on negative comments Trump allegedly made about the wind industry, including a blunt statement, “I hate wind.” But is that really anything new? Trump’s enmity to the wind industry has been well known since at least 2015, so what has changed?

In its own story this week, the New York Times complains that Trump “has publicly railed for months against President Biden’s energy and environmental agenda.” But the truth is Trump has consistently opposed the heavy debt-funded subsidization of wind, solar, and electric vehicles since the outset of his 2016 bid for the presidency.

Both the Times and Post also detail Trump promises to encourage drilling in Alaska, hold more federal lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, and end Biden’s ill-considered pause on LNG permitting.

Writers at these legacy outlets seemed horrified that, in the same meeting in which he discussed his plans to restore some balance to federal energy policy, Trump also made a bold and blunt request for the executives to support his campaign, allegedly tossing out the number of $1 billion. Try as I might, I was unable to find similarly inflammatory reports from these same media outlets related to the Biden campaign’s efforts to raise money from leftwing billionaires with names like Gates and Bloomberg and Soros.

A couple of the stories complain about the “transactional approach” Trump takes to fundraising, and indeed the former president is unusually blunt in that regard. But that is how he has always communicated in the political realm, and thus it is hardly newsworthy all these years later.

Mike McKenna, a DC-based consultant who served in the first Trump term, told the New York Times, “That has been his pitch to everybody,” adding: “Look, you want me to win. You might not even like me, but your other choice is four more years of these guys,” i.e. Biden and his appointees. “The uniform sentiment of guys in the business community is ‘We don’t want four more years of Team Biden.’”

Like it or not, this is how American politics works: Individuals, NGOs, unions, companies and entire industries tend to donate money to politicians who promise to take policy actions that are best for their own interests. And it is key to note here that the promises related to oil and gas and energy policy in general that Trump reportedly made during this roundtable essentially promise a return to the dominant policy direction of his first term in office. That’s hardly newsworthy, especially enough to become fodder for a coordinated effort among so many outlets to amplify a story a full month after the event took place.

Despite their having covered Trump’s political endeavors in one form or another for almost a decade now, these Democrat-leaning media operations still do not understand the reality that Trump’s blunt, transactional approach to politics is in fact a major asset for him. It is as if many journalists have become so conditioned to expect dissembling and obfuscation tactics from politicians that they don’t quite know how to react to someone who, like Trump, treats the process for what it actually is: A business transaction.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

 

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