Trump Can’t Beat the Press || Lifezette

Frontal assault on the media is an exercise in futility

by Edmund Kozak

Donald Trump seems locked in a battle against the mainstream media to see who can make the other look worse. It is a battle Trump will inevitably lose.

The Republican nominee escalated his attacks on the media over the weekend, online and in public. “I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump noted in Fairfield, Connecticut, Saturday night. “I’m running against the crooked media.”

Donald Trump seems locked in a battle against the mainstream media to see who can make the other look worse. It is a battle Trump will inevitably lose.

The Republican nominee escalated his attacks on the media over the weekend, online and in public. “I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton,” Trump noted in Fairfield, Connecticut, Saturday night. “I’m running against the crooked media.”

However, just because most Americans lack faith in the mainstream media does not mean most Americans are unaffected by the media. The ability to recognize media bias does not necessarily translate into the ability to resist being influenced by 24/7 blanket negative coverage, as Trump is finding out — much to his obvious surprise.

Trump needs to recognize that the media has turned against him. While they were happy to play up his attacks on his opponents in the widespread 17-person field, they are now in a concerted effort to turn his words against him and he cannot keep banking on coverage of any kind being an ultimate plus.

Moreover, he needs to stop giving the media ammunition with which to attack him. Unless one harbors a seething hatred of Mormons, Mitt Romney is a man about as offensive as a warm glass of milk served with chocolate chip cookies — but this didn’t stop the mainstream media from making him look like a real-life Lex Luthor by the time they were through with him.

No recent Republican president devoted much time to slamming the press. While they may have exchanged a few glancing blows and the occasional joke with the press, they largely stayed on message.

“Reagan killed them with kindness,” Craig Shirley, Ronald Reagan biographer and historian, told LifeZette. “He may have ranted in private about this columnist or that reporter, but generally he never cut anyone off or froze them out,” Shirley said.

In order to deprive a hostile media of easy ammunition, Trump must resist all temptation to veer off message and off target. Trump needs to stick to his winning message of making America great again — rather than a doomed attempt at making the media honest again.

“Lou Cannon wrote in 1980 that Reagan never ducked a reporter,” Shirley noted. “Cannon said, ‘I’ve never known Reagan to … refuse to answer questions. Nor has he treated those who reported critically about him with special disfavor,'” said Shirley.

“The media chose to take her, Clinton — the Clinton campaign narrative — and go on attack on Donald Trump,” Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “Donald Trump in the course of this week was very substantive.”

But by making aggressive off-the-cuff remarks and getting himself into petty personal squabbles with the press, Trump is providing the mainstream media with an excuse to ignore any “very substantive” things he may say. When faced with the choice of substance or sensationalism, the mainstream media will always choose the latter.

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