I was very critical of Joe Scarborough on these pages last week. In fact, I was wrong to say that Scarborough has provided "slobbering" coverage of Donald Trump the way people like Sean Hannity does. Scarborough has challenged Trump on Morning Joe with a good deal of Trump's nonsense.
That said, much of my overall point remains. That Trump is continually invited on these shows constantly despite all of the garbage and lies he has spewed since he has gotten into the race shows how derelict the media has been during this campaign season. There is only so much air time a person should get after a constant barrage of insults and flat out lies that person tells. Donald Trump lies without shame every time he appears on the air, even when confronted with the true. He just doesn't care because he knows his supporters will believe him.
Look at the Michelle Fields incident. Not only are Trump supporters disagreeing with Fields version of events, they are now actively saying it never happened. Why? Because Trump says it never happened. Where is the media dereliction? Trump appeared this weekend on Fox News Sunday, Meet The Press, Face The Nation and State of The Union.
Not a single host asked Trump about Michelle Fields and Corey Lewandowski.
As such, it was encouraging to see Scarborough in the Washington Post this morning, calling out Trump on what happened in Chicago:
Friday’s freak show was as prepackaged as a rerun of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” The only difference was that Donald Trump delivered his lines on the phone from a hotel room in the Windy City instead of on the set of his made-for-TV boardroom.
It was all a scam.
Has anyone noticed that Trump’s campaign now regularly stages media events designed to eclipse any negative coverage that predictably follows Republican debates?
The Feb. 25 debate in Houston where Marco Rubio delivered the campaign’s most withering critique of Trump was followed the next morning with Chris Christie’s headline-grabbing endorsement. That Friday press conference consumed all political coverage throughout the weekend and limited any fallout from the Fox debate to a hardy band of Trump deniers on Twitter.
Then last Thursday, Rubio delivered the debate performance of his life in Miami. But with Florida and Ohio five days away, the Trump campaign took no chances. It leaked the news of Ben Carson’s coming endorsement before the debate even began and held another Friday morning press conference to showcase it. But Carson was just the warm-up act.
When news broke early Friday night that the Chicago rally had been canceled because of safety fears, you didn’t need to be a programming genius to predict what would be jamming America’s airwaves for the rest of the night. And for the next four hours, the candidate who is promising to weaken libel laws spoke on cable news channels about how his First Amendment rights were being violated. He was doing all of this while reaching a far larger audience than he could have ever done while actually speaking at a rally.
He goes on here (and this is critical):
As has been the case throughout the entire 2016 cycle, Trump thrives on the political chaos that he helps creates. If it is true that opportunity and chaos are the same word in Mandarin, Trump should stamp that word on a poster and sell it at his next scheduled event. For the Manhattan billionaire, manufactured chaos is just as profitable for his brand as Paris Hilton’s sex tape was for hers.
Yes and this is exactly what sites such RedState have been saying since Trump got into the race. This is not a new revelation. New media has been calling out traditional media from the start on the amount of coverage they have provided to Trump. Traditional media fed the monster.
Trump may be an idiot but he's not stupid. He knows these stunts will get him coverage and publicity. It doesn't matter if the publicity is negative. For Trump it is still positive publicity.
Joe finishes off with this:
Perhaps they should have just used the New York developer’s own words against him to explain why Friday’s event took an ugly turn, like the time Trump said of a protester at a Las Vegas rally, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
Or when he declared that “in the good old days,” protesters wouldn’t show up “because they used to treat them very, very rough.”
Or when he told his audience to “Knock the crap out of them, would you?”
There was so much that could have been said but instead those protesting against Trump being interviewed on camera seemed to be about as shallow as the reality-show routine of the man they love to hate. The difference, of course, is that Trump wants to be the next president of the United States. But that will never happen unless the man who is about to lock down the GOP nomination drops his reality-show routine, starts working on uniting his party and gets serious about the daunting task before him.
Mark me down as skeptical.
I'm not sure how Trump does this. He blazed a trail through the GOP primary similar to what Sherman did in Georgia. He didn't do it by building himself up and drawing distinctions between himself and other candidates. He did it in part by sounding like a Democrat as he trashed the records of fellow Republicans and relies largely on voter anger as the central focus of his campaign.
The damage has been done.
The party will never be united with Trump as the nominee.