President Donald Trump is upset about the negative news coverage he receives and is threatening the credentials of news agencies unless things change. But who is really to blame for the negative attention he gets?
Trump made the threat on Wednesday morning in his typical fashion — through his Twitter account. After citing a report which described the media attention on Trump as being 91 percent negative, the president rhetorically asked, “Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt?”
He posited a solution at the end of the same tweet: “Take away credentials?”
The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
Trump isn’t necessarily wrong: A lot of the coverage you read about him is negative. But lamenting the press (for delivering news that isn’t to his liking) and suggesting that their credentials be removed isn’t the solution to the president’s problems. Rather, being a better leader is.
Trump receives bad press because he’s simply a bad president. He frequently name-calls his political opponents or other individuals he takes issue with; he defends racists and neo-Nazis who engage in violence, and makes racist comments himself inside the Oval Office; he puts forward unconstitutional travel bans against individuals based on their religion; he belittles the LGBTQ community by restricting their ability to serve their country or to be recognized in communities across the nation; and his past is catching up to him, with payouts to adult film actresses and other adulterous liaisons, in addition to the numerous instances of unwanted sexual conduct that’s been documented, coming to light.
This is but a sampling of the scandals that have affected Trump’s standing in the public eye since he took office. Much more exist, and pages upon pages could be filled describing them — but you get the point.
If Trump has a problem with his public perception, it isn’t the media’s fault. It’s his own making, and the media is merely documenting the pitfalls and scandals present within the Trump administration.
It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario, except in this instance we know which came first. The media didn’t decide on its own to suddenly attack Trump for his many misdeeds; instead, Trump’s misdeeds led the media to report on them.
Threatening the credentials of the press who report on Trump and ask the tough questions that presidents deserve to be asked is a childish move. It’s also an autocratic one, demonstrative of the type of leader Trump wants to be — one who rules with an iron fist against anyone who tries to sully his reputation.
Trump is at fault for his own negative reputation. But rather than take ownership of that fact, he is determined to derail the free press instead.