Why Trump's Attacks on the Media Work Every Time
Let me show you in just a few easy steps exactly why the American news media are helpless against the attacks of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Back in January, Trump claimed to have raised five or six million dollars for veterans' groups at an Iowa fundraiser. Media outlets like the Washington Post and CNN questioned that, saying they couldn't find any evidence he had raised that much. On Tuesday, Trump confronted reporters with a list of donations, some of which seemed to have been given only after the media raised the issue. Reporter Tom Llamas of ABC asked Trump a tough question in a particularly nasty way:
The night of that Iowa fundraiser, you said you had raised six million dollars. Clearly you had not. Your critics say you tend to exaggerate, you have a problem with the truth. Is this a prime example?
Soon after, Trump responded by calling Llamas a sleazy guy: "You're a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well."
The press universally bashed Trump, especially none other than Dana Bash, who got very high-minded in her defense of journalists' right to ask tough questions to prevent the United States from turning into a North Korean style dictatorship.
"I pride myself, as we all do, on being dispassionate, but this is a situation where I don't think we should be dispassionate... Not to get too corny about it, but it is the press - number one, it is our job to ask questions, particularly of public figures, especially somebody who wants to be the leader of the free world..."
Now let's go back to last July. Barack Obama has just announced his nuclear deal with Iran, a deal we now know, from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, was sold to the press by cynical and dishonest means. Like Llamas with Trump, Major Garrett asked the president a tough question in a particularly nasty way. Obama rebuked him harshly.
What did the press do then? They nearly universally attacked — wait for it! — Major Garrett! And who was right in there bashing Garrett with the best of them? You guessed it. Dana Bash: "There's a fine line between asking a tough question and maybe crossing that line a little bit and being disrespectful." (Around 1:28 on the video below)