The Corner

Politics & Policy

Is This Election Trump vs. Hillary or Trump vs. the Media?

From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Is This Campaign Trump vs. Hillary or Trump vs. the Media?

Michael Wolff, a longtime analyst of the media industry, writes in USA Today:

Since the conventions, as [Donald Trump’s] daily obnoxiousness and varied offenses against good politics continue, let me spitball that he gets 90 percent of the coverage to [Hillary Clinton’s] 10 percent.

It is the first time in a presidential election that it’s good to be a non-entity. She doesn’t even have to make her own case. It isn’t even really a contest between him and her, it’s between him and the media, on their own volition, arguing against him. Clinton is little more than an observer to the Trump train wreck and the media’s hypnotic coverage of it.

As a woman who has been hounded and excoriated by the media through her long career, she must be grateful for the reprieve. At the same time, it’s hard to believe she doesn’t find it a tad eerie. Nobody even notices the most hated woman in America. What’s with that?

…The result, by all appearances and polling calculations, seems to be that Clinton will walk into the White House having faced the least amount of scrutiny, criticism and antipathy of any major-party nominee in modern media history. This is the same Clinton who, after 25 years in public life, might reasonably have had a lot to answer for.

Once Trump is dispatched, how does the media, suddenly realizing they did her work, regard her?

The media was disappointed by the level of access to President Obama, too. The Justice Department subpoenaed the Associated Press’ phone records. White House officials would call them up and scream obscenities at them if they didn’t like the coverage. As the Washington Post put it in 2013:

Reporters also have resented being bypassed as the White House takes its message directly to the public via social media, blogs and its Web site. Obama has granted few interviews to news organizations that regularly cover the president, going instead to soft-focus infotainment outlets such as “The View.”

Did the Obama White House ever pay a serious price for treating once-friendly media with such contempt? Eh, apparently not enough of a price to get them to change their ways. Certainly not enough of a price to deter the Hillary Clinton campaign from refusing to hold a press conference for most of a year.

How will the media, suddenly realizing they did Hillary Clinton’s work, regard her? Not that badly, I’d guess.

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