Since Donald Trump’s winning the 2016 presidential election, Washington elites’ and the press corps’ feud with President Trump has dominated the news. During a rally in mid February in Florida, President Trump told supporters, “They have their own agenda. And their agenda is not your agenda,” referring to the national press. But as Jason L. Riley points out in the WSJ, “The president is on firmer ground than his media foes.”
Republican presidents have been accustomed to harsh criticism from the mostly left-wing Beltway journalists who cover them, but no one in memory has received as much sustained abuse as Mr. Trump. Most major news outlets showed nothing but contempt for him and his supporters throughout the campaign, and the disdain has only escalated since the election.
“They could not defeat us in the primaries and they could not defeat us in the general election,” Mr. Trump told supporters, referring not to his political opponents but to the press. “We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live, or what to believe. We are free and independent people, and we will make our own choices.”
It’s also becoming clearer that the media are more interested than Mr. Trump in maintaining this antagonistic relationship. Mr. Trump won the White House as an outsider who preached the sort of pragmatism on display in Florida, where he spoke at length about his administration’s intention to focus on jobs, crime, border security and economic growth.
Whether or not you support this agenda, it deserves at least as much serious media coverage as Mr. Trump’s CNN put-downs. Yet the press seems more interested in berating the president than in covering him. Mr. Trump’s thin skin and lack of self-discipline don’t help his cause. Nor does his rocky relationship with the truth. But Mr. Trump isn’t the first president to prevaricate; he’s just less polished than we’re accustomed to.
Despite the gnashing of teeth on its newly found love of our Constitution by a national media “that can’t get over itself,” Mr. Riley explains how the “death of our constitutional system of checks and balances” has been “greatly exaggerated.”
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