Donald Trump and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Press

On Tuesday, a Donald Trump press conference supposedly intended to announce Trump’s fundraising of $5.6 million for veterans groups turned into a forty minute full out frontal assault on the mainstream media.

The press conference was in response to Trump’s January absence in a debate, where he claimed that there were too many debates and refused to participate, instead choosing to organize a fundraiser for veterans. The point of contention began when the press questioned why it had taken Trump four months to announce how much he had fundraised for veterans.

“I wanted to keep it private, because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if I want to send money to the vets,” Trump responded, which was perplexing, as a press conference’s purpose is to publicly announce something.

Trump has been extremely defensive of the way the veteran money was raised since January, where he claimed that he had raised $6 million for veteran’s affairs.  The reporters pushed Trump to be more transparent about how much money there actually was, who it was from, and who it was for. There have been articles reporting that staff members of veteran groups were asked to stand on stage with Trump before being given money. In fact, Trump only gave his personal donation last week, when he was pressured by critics and reporters. He also called out the “couple of picketers” outside his press conference in Trump Tower, stating that their claim that “the money was not sent” was false. “The money has all been sent,” Trump declared.

My guess is that one of the factors for the backlash against the media is Trump’s inexperience with the transparency required to not just be a public figure, but the President of the United States. His forty minute long rant was aimed at the press because they “make him look bad.” He even began to personally insult individual reporters. “You’re a sleaze,” he told one reporter for ABC, and he called another reporter for CNN “a real beauty.” “I think the media in many cases is made up of not very good people. I don’t want the credit, but I shouldn’t be lambasted.”

Yet even though Trump is throwing a hissy fit, the press should be proud of its work. The mainstream media exists to pierce the veil of ignorance and research the arguments of the candidates for factuality. This goal can be difficult to accomplish and also win Trump’s favor. Five reporters from Huffington Post scoured one of Trump’s debate performances, they found that “It took us hours, but in all, we found 71 separate instances in which Trump made a claim that was inaccurate, misleading or deeply questionable. That’s basically one falsehood every 169 words, or 1.16 falsehoods every minute.” CNN also has begun to call out Trump’s lies when the facts are clear. When the media publish facts proving that a candidate is lying, that is not evidence of bias; it is just them doing their job.

In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton called Trump “thin-skinned,” arguing that the American people cannot entrust the power of Commander-in-Chief to a man who becomes enraged at the slightest provocation. Trump responded by calling Hillary a liar and a crook, but his interactions with the media seem to support Hillary’s claim.

We can only expect more violent outbursts from Donald Trump in the months, and possibly years, to come. When asked during the June 1st press conference if this childish behavior would continue into the White House, Trump responded “You think I’m gonna change? I’m not gonna change.”

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