BROOKE GLADSTONE: From WNYC in New York this is On the Media. Bob Garfield is away this week, I'm Brooke Gladstone. How the president does suffer with the mainstream media Donald Agonistes.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's such a racist question.
JIM ACOSTA:In Jim's defense, I traveled with him and watched him. He's a diligent reporter who busts his butt.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Says I'm not a big fan of yours either so sit.
JIM ACOSTA: I understand.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Sit down. I didn't call you. I didn't call you. That's enough.
JIM ACOSTA: I wanted to ask one other question. One of the other folks
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's enough.
JIM ACOSTA: Pardon me ma'am. Mr President, I had one other question.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's enough. [END CLIP].
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Like that famous first century Roman emperor, vexed at the rabble for applauding the opposition. You can imagine him crying, 'would that the Roman people had but a single neck.'
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Mr Trump responded with this warning on Twitter. If the Democrats think they're going to waste taxpayer money investigating us at the House level then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them. All of the leaks of classified information and much else at the Senate level. Two can play that game. Shots fired this morning. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus is also loved partaking in spectacles reveling in his witticisms.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: How about Senator Feinstein. That's another beauty.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Did you leak the documents? Wha, wha? No I didn't. He just said no we didn't.
CROWD, CHANTING: Lock her up. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Savoring his casual humiliations.
[CLIP] -- MONTAGE
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I know where she went, it's disgusting I don't want to talk about it. No, it's too disgusting.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: She said I never expect to hear that from you again. She said he's a pussy. That's terrible.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He took the job and then he said I'm going to recuse myself. I said what kind of a man is this.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You are a rude terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Whereupon his press secretary Sarah Sanders, released the tape that heightens a brief effort by CNN's grandstanding reporter Jim Acosta to block an intern trying to take his mic, yanks his press credentials and tweets that the White House of a president caught bragging about grabbing women's privates and whose campaign manager had left bruises on a Breitbart reporter during a campaign event would not tolerate Acosta laying hands on a young intern. That was roughly Sander's tweet. But, you know, I'm paraphrasing. I'm also being distracted. We had another shooting this week. A big one.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: Thirteen people are dead including a sheriff's deputy and the gunman. Up to 12 others are injured.
SUSAN SCHMIDT-ORFANOS: My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn't come home last night. And I don't want prayers, I don't want thoughts, I want gun control. I hope to god nobody else sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Who has the bandwidth for that anguish. Roughly two thirds of Americans want stricter gun laws but they won't get them. And the headlines fade one into another, displaced by more politics. This week the president finally lopped off the head of a displeasing courtier he'd been eviscerating slowly, but not literally, as the aforementioned Emperor was likely to do. It's part of the long game of numbing the nation to the once unacceptable. And he put in as interim attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, who's now kind of in charge of the Mueller investigation, which he has openly condemned.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: I can see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller but he just reduce his budget so low, that his face investigation grinds to an absolutely, almost hult. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: The president, before jetting off to Paris Friday said he didn't know Whitaker.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Matt Whitaker, I don't know Matt Whitaker, Matt Whitaker. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: He knew him a month ago.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I can tell you Matt Whitaker is a great guy. I mean, I know Mark Whitaker. [END CLIP]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: But does this matter? Should this matter? So much matters more than the casual lie. And yet political catastrophe, fast moving or slow, always begins with a lie. History that repeats itself turns to farce, but a farce that repeats itself ends up making a history. That's the observation of French sociologist Jean Baudrillardwho invented the concept of hyper reality. An idea that describes when what's real and what's not are so seamlessly intertwined that they become essentially the same stuff, neither real nor unreal. Stop it. Neither the president nor the media get to decide what's real. We just had an election. We still have a representative democracy. Can we keep it working. We touch on that this hour. This is On the Media.