There was lots of hand-wringing after the election about how the media had messed up. Were we too quick to believe the polls? Did we have any idea what real Americans actually thought? Did we give Donald Trump too much attention—or not enough? Now that journalists have spent a few months covering President Trump, we asked a range of media critics, political operatives, historians and more: What does the press still get wrong about Trump, and what do we just not get at all?
1. We forget what has always driven Trump.
Gwenda Blair, author of The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President
Too often, the press forgets the very lessons Trump himself has taught us about how he operates and why it often works. For example, journalists often imply that Trump’s reliance on cable news is a liability because it leaves him ill-informed. And so it does—but it also leaves him highly attuned to that medium and able to respond to what he sees there with immediate, pitch-perfect tweets or other comments that come across as direct, authentic and trustworthy.
Another example: the power of repetition. Frequently, reporters assume that because they have already responded to a Trump assertion, the issue is settled. But then he repeats the same misinformation, as he did in defending the size of his inauguration crowds. In part, this is because he’s incapable of acknowledging loss or error. More important, it’s because one of his highest priorities is the construction of an alternate narrative and the delegitimization of the mainstream media, traditional authorities, and the primacy of facts.
Likewise, the press seems to have forgotten the power of distraction. Coverage of the Trump-ordered missile attack in Syria made little reference to how conveniently it deflected attention from Russia-gate, Trump’s conflicts of interest, his draconian budget cuts, etc. The media also understate Trump’s reliance on bullying, which works surprisingly well for him. With the recent exception of the House Freedom Caucus’ refusal to knuckle under and vote for the GOP’s health care act, most people (e.g., the other Republican presidential candidates and many TV commentators) back down.
Read more at Politico.