So President Donald Trump held something called a press conference yesterday, but it was really more of a performance. He lectured the media, telling them they were corrupt, unfair and a bunch of liars. The assembled media took the bait and attempted to defend themselves, which prompted more berating from the Trump.
It's hard not to sympathize with the media. After all, it was good journalism that prompted the attacks from Trump, the reporting of Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russians about the sanctions President Barack Obama imposed. The story relied upon leaks, something Trump praised last year on the campaign trail when they came from Wikileaks, the likely result of Russian computer hacking.
But the media has the curse of Cassandra: it can tell the truth but how many will listen? As pollster Frank Luntz points out, the media's credibility is at an all-time low. Trump even taunted the press with their low popularity during the press conference.
Picking on the press is nothing new, and has been popular for a long time. The Front Page was first produced in 1928 and has been on the big screen three times. In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the press literally gets punched in the face by the hero.
Trump's press bashing is not the result of an unhinged mind but an understanding that's what his supporters want. When the press reacts to it, and overreacts to it, Trump still wins.