- - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Since well before his historic and shocking win, President Trump has done fierce battle with the media. It’s an adversarial relationship in which neither side likes — or perhaps even respects — the other.

There’s nothing new about that. Chief executives have done battle with the press corps since America’s founding, and it’s often been even uglier than it is now.

What’s more, the media has become ever more liberal. That, too, makes sense. Newspapers have been gobbled up by huge media corporations, and both depend on ads for revenue. Where are the best markets? In the cities, populated by liberals (just check that red and blue map of the 2016 presidential election if you need proof).

The once-unbiased Associated Press has even moved hard left as it seeks to provide its paying clients with copy they want — and that copy has a leftish lean. Again, that’s just business, giving the customers what they want. But it still means the media has moved left, a point few can seriously doubt.

What is different about today is that the snowflake press corps acts as if it alone is the arbiter of truth. It’s not, of course, but the haughty attitude the media has taken of late is all the more absurd when so many openly endorsed (or at least heavily supported) the 2016 Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

So toss into that whole mix the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the annual display of excess inside the Beltway in which the media gushes over Hollywood, their inside sources, and (of late) the Democratic president. Over the past few weeks, news organizations have openly threatened to skip this year’s annual bacchanal: CNN talked of pulling out, Vanity Fair won’t be hosting its usual after-party, and several other outlets talked of boycotting the event.

But Mr. Trump beat them to the punch. He announced last week that he’ll skip the affair.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” he tweeted.

So, as Tricky Dick once said, the media won’t have ol’ Donald to kick around anymore.

President Obama, along with the always liberal entertainment at the big night, reveled in doing just that — even well before Mr. Trump emerged as a political force.

“Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald,” a gape-grinned Mr. Obama said at one dinner. “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?

“But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ — at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled,” Mr. Obama said.

The entertainers, usually from late-night TV or Comedy Central, also teed off on All Things Republican. George W. Bush was a good sport about it all, but the night often went well past the bounds of good taste. America is, after all, almost perfectly split, so shouldn’t the targets of their barbs be, too?

In reality, Mr. Trump is now just protecting the presidency. The dinner has become a weeklong party of excess, and when Mr. Bush was in office, some news organizations talked of bailing (they went right back to loving the night once a liberal president got into the White House). And the night, now a cross between the Oscars and “Meet the Press,” has morphed into everything the press should hate — a lovefest between reporters and the people they cover.

The mainstream media, populated mostly by liberals who vote Democratic, hoots and hollers and jokes about Republicans, but groans all night at anything targeting their own side. It really is an awful display of all the things America clearly said in the 2016 election that it hates.

Here’s the bottom line: The press-politician relationship has been — and always should be — adversarial. Sure, there’s no reason the two sides can’t break bread together, but the disgusting dinner has gone far past that and is now just embarrassing.

Mr. Trump is right to skip the affair — and the media is just sore that he won’t be there so they can bash him for three hours while he has to sit there. Advantage Trump.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He also ran the Drudge Report as morning editor for four years. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter via @josephcurl.

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