by Mike Smith Donald Trump blasted the media on Twitter last weekend, saying: “If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20 percent.” Trump was angered by media reports describing turmoil in his campaign and saying that advisers, including family members, were urging him to stay focused on the economy and public safety rather than getting sidetracked on other, sometimes trivial, issues. First, Donald Trump’s campaign is, in fact, in disarray. States that should still be in contention and possible “pick-ups” for the Republican presidential nominee are now swinging in favor of Hillary Clinton. And states that should be solid Republican and easy wins for any Republican presidential nominee are becoming close races between Clinton and Trump in recent polls. Trump is discovering that rallies with his faithful and reliance on social media are poor substitutes for a well-established political ground game, strategic advertising and well thought out policy statements. If advisers and family members are counseling him to change course, then good for them, because they are giving him sound advice. Second, Trump craves the attention of the press, but this attention must be on his own terms, which, in a democracy, it never is. If press coverage isn’t fawning or positive, then the media become a convenient scapegoat for his failings. Since the outset of his campaign for president, Trump has relied heavily on the media, sometimes saying or doing outrageous things just to attract attention. But this is a one-dimensional campaign strategy that has a significant downside, since it places so much power over the fate of a campaign in the hands of the media. That is why you are hearing advisers urging him to start advertising so he can get his message out on his own terms. Trump deserves what he gets in negative media coverage because of the things he says and does, but he probably doesn’t deserve all the negative press that he gets. Studies confirm that the media as a whole tend to be more liberal than the average American. Also, they are likely to hold political views that align more closely with Democrats than Republicans. As a result, Republicans feel that there is an inherent bias in the media, and this manifests itself into an obsession with Trump, resulting in less scrutiny of Hillary Clinton. As evidence of this bias, many Republicans will point to the media’s lack of initiative in uncovering a possible conflict or questionable contacts between the US State Department headed by then Secretary of State Clinton and the privately operated Clinton Foundation. To them, these possible breaches in protocol and ethics raise many questions that are far more serious than Donald Trump calling someone a name.However, the truth is that Trump makes it deliciously easy for the media to pounce when he shifts his positions, can’t answer questions or provide explanations in an articulate manner, is confrontational and less than transparent. But minus the name-calling, many wonder if Hillary Clinton is that much better? This is why Trump and Clinton are the two most unpopular presidential nominees in history. This presidential election should have favored a Republican nominee, especially against Hillary Clinton, an unpopular Democrat. The American public is yearning for change. They want economic and political policies that look out for their welfare, instead of focusing on the welfare of the elite. And yet Trump continues to slide in the polls and no matter how many times he tweets, and no matter how many times he calls this election “rigged,” the sole reason for his failure falls squarely on his shoulders, and not with the media. Mike Smith is the host of the radio program, “Open Mike with Mike Smith,” on WDEV 550 AM and 96.1, 96.5 and 101.9 FM. He is also a political analyst for WCAX-TV and WVMT radio and is a regular contributor to the Times Argus, Rutland Herald and Vermont Business Magazine. He was the secretary of administration and secretary of human services under former Governor Jim Douglas.
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