Media Trying, But Can't Escape Blame For Enabling Trump

A few days ago, NBC’s Katy Tur tweeted, “Trump trashes press. Crowd jeers. Guy by press ‘pen’ looks at us & screams “you’re a bitch!” Other gentleman gives cameras the double bird.” NBC’s Chuck Todd (who on Sunday perpetuated the falsehood that Planned Parenthood performs mammograms) said, “The campaign rhetoric needs to be ratcheted back. This is outrageous and dangerous behavior.”

Oh please. Why in the world would Trump ratchet anything back? Why in the world? This is a man whose every utterance, every insult, every breath, every smirk, every everything has been given non-stop coverage by the media for the better part of a year. And thanks in large part to this pattern of outsized and pretend-outraged media coverage (among many other things, granted), Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president.

It’s exceedingly difficult to believe that media figures truly believe the behavior is outrageous and dangerous given their daily record of coverage. There is nothing he can say or do that the media won’t reward. Case in point: Trump is now questioning Marco Rubio’s citizenship. Rubio. Marco Rubio. Born-in-Miami Marco Rubio.

John Podhoretz replied:

I’m calling it now. If mainstream media let Trump make Rubio eligibility an issue by asking about it and playing it up, they are complicit.

Spoiler: They’re complicit. You can’t cry “dangerous and outrageous” with this type of cross-network coverage that other candidates would pay millions of dollars to have. Every day is a test for the media and Trump. And every day they fail, and he succeeds wildly.

It’s Not Just How They Cover Trump

The media enabling of Trump isn’t just about how they cover Trump; it’s also about how they’ve covered Republican candidates for decades. Republican voters couldn’t be sicker of it. This is a minor example, but yesterday political reporters went wild with the news that John Kasich had lost a major “War on Women” battle by claiming his female supporters were barefoot and pregnant or something.

Here’s a representative tweet from Zeke Miller, political reporter at TIME:

Kasich: “many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door-to-door and to put yard signs up for me.” 


And everyone flipped out and mocked Kasich for his gaffe. Until it turned out that this quote was taken completely out of context. He was talking about how he had stay-at-home mothers to thank for his early electoral victories in the 1970s. He explicitly acknowledged that most women now work outside of the home. It was a huge nothingburger, although some journalists wanted to stay upset.

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