- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mainstream media has no sense of humor. That said, Donald Trump should learn when to keep his mouth shut.

But that advice would discount the old adage that all press is good press, which Mr. Trump clearly believes in. And on that front, he’s won.

On the third day of the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Trump has stolen the headlines, with all cable networks carrying his 75-minute press conference. But it didn’t come without trouble.

In speaking about the absurdity that the Democrats — and the mainstream media has perpetuated — that Mr. Trump somehow influenced Russian leader Vladimir Putin into hacking and leaking the DNC’s emails, Mr. Trump joked: “They [Russian hackers] probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted because you’d see some beauties there. So let’s see.”

Mr. Trump then took things further — and sarcastically — when he dared the Russians into finding the emails Mrs. Clinton deleted when she was secretary of state, of which there are no record.



“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Mr. Trump said during the news conference in Florida.

It was all a joke, and any reasonable person listening to the news conference would assume so, but it was lost on the media, who were all to happy to now have “proof” of their narrative that Mr. Trump is a treasonous man calling for foreign powers to commit cyber fraud.

Donald Trump encourages Russia to hack Hillary Clinton,” a headline from CNN read.

“The many problems with Donald Trump’s call for Russia to spy on Hillary Clinton,” The Washington Post wrote.

“Donald J. Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially sanctioning a foreign power’s cyberspying,” The New York Times declared.

Technically, all of these headlines are true — if you were to interpret his words as serious, and not the mocking baloney that they were. Mrs. Clinton’s email server isn’t even available to be hacked anymore as it’s out of operation.

Still, Mr. Trump knows he’s dealing with a hostile media where every day they try to assassinate his character. So why give them ammunition?

It seems like Mr. Trump can’t help himself. He makes these absurd comments just to rib the media — to point out how ridiculous they are, but in turn, they report his words as serious to make him appear as buffoonish as they can.

It’s been a cycle that’s repeated itself throughout this election season, over and over.

Unfortunately, these sort of headlines only reinforce Mrs. Clinton’s narrative that Mr. Trump is temperamentally unfit to serve in office, and they may turn off independent and Republican voters who don’t watch Mr. Trump’s press conferences live.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump dominates the news cycle. It’s then up to his press staff — and now running mate Mike Pence — to clean up the mess he leaves behind.

I’d prefer he’d not make the mess in the first place.

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