There’s a famous anecdote that appears I think in Teddy White’s Making of the President, 1964 about a reporter who, upon hearing Barry Goldwater’s line “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice,” said: “My God—he’s going to run as Barry Goldwater!”
That sentiment is enjoying a sequel today with Donald Trump’s press conference about his charity to veterans’ groups, but whose dominant news was not his donations but his direct attack on the media, including calling out individual network correspondents for “sleaze.”
“I think the political press is among the most dishonest people I ever met,” he said. Later, he repeated this criticism: “I find the press to be extremely dishonest. And I find the political press to be unbelievably dishonest.”
“I’m not looking for credit, but when I raise millions of dollars, have people say like this – like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He’s a sleaze in my book.”
“Why am I a sleaze?”
“You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.”
The best part was his response to the question, “Is this the way it’s going to be if you’re elected president?” To which Trump responded with no equivocation, “Yes, it is. . . You think I’m going to change? I’m not changing.”
Somewhere, Spiro Agnew is saying, “I told you so.” If you know the media is going to be hostile to you, why not declare open war on them? It’s not like the media has high public approval ratings.
Here’s the whole thing on YouTube if you have the time to watch it.