During a recent news conference, he showered a few of those on a target that attracts more of his ire than even Hillary Clinton – the media. “I think the political press are among the most dishonest people I’ve ever met,” he blustered.
Then he blasted individuals, calling one reporter a “sleazy guy”, another “a real beauty”. At almost every rally he addresses, he will point at the media and deliver choice adjectives like “slime”.
Trump has described The New York Times as a “failing” newspaper, and accused The Washington Post of attacking him on the orders of its owner, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
This is literally an abusive relationship.
But as those who study such relationships will tell you, it isn’t one that’s going to necessarily end in divorce. The reason is simple – they need each other.
As Trump’s trash talk terminated at the presser, his interview appeared in The Hollywood Reporter. Look at his timeline on Twitter, and he’s regularly promoting his television interviews.
In fact, Trump spends more time making himself available to the “dishonest” folk than, I’ll bet, any presidential candidate in the history of American politics. In contrast, Hillary Clinton avoids the press as if it’s going to transmit the Zika virus to her.
Trump knows he gets thousands of hours of free air time by doing plenty of interviews. If you were to switch on the television at prime time in the US, you can safely assume Trump is speaking live on at least one channel, and many others are speaking about him. He’s as ubiquitous as trolls on social media.
The media, meanwhile, despite being lambasted by candidate Trump will give him a platform because he secures for them that most precious of commodities – eyeballs, even if those are rolling in their sockets as he bombasts along.
That’s also the reason his speeches and pressers are carried live on cable news networks. After all, what other presumptive presidential nominee would respond to a question about the gorilla killed in an Ohio zoo?
Trump knows abusing the press isn’t losing him any votes; if anything it may win him some.
Recent surveys have shown the American media enjoys the confidence of the country’s people at nearly the same level as the US Congress; unless you like the ambience at the bottom of the barrel, this is not a great thing. For Trump, it’s a whinge-win situation.
There will be five more months of this impolite exchange. By then, Trump would have consumed a historic amount of media space, because he cannot be resisted. This blog itself proves that.