Yesterday’s utterly compelling news conference by President Trump, held on short notice, signaled an entirely new era in relationships between a president and the major media. For decades, the ability of mainstream media to bully presidents has been part of the accepted landscape. In 2004, then-influential Newsweek journalist Evan Thomas admitted that media bias was “going to be worth maybe 15 points” to the Kerry-Edwards ticket, an estimate he alter scaled back to 5 points — enough to swing most presidential elections.
President Trump does not accept that status quo. He fights back. And he and the media both know that if he continues to succeed in undermining the media’s power to sway pubic opinion, a permanent shift in the political balance of power will be accomplished. It would be a structural change, in effect.
The media detest this loss of power, of course, because the currency of beltway life is influence and power, not money.
To see what the opposition mainstream is thinking, I usually watch at least the first few minutes of Morning Joe, the favorite morning show of political insiders, if not President Trump, who endorsed their competitor Fox and Friends yesterday (which has to be a presidential first). They were speaking in hushed tones, as if grieving, over the behavior of President Trump.