- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Veteran TV host Phil Donahue says journalists need to learn how to take a punch in the era of President Trump.

“Don’t be so sensitive,” Mr. Donahue said on MSNBC Wednesday morning while discussing the Trump administration’s handling of the press, according to a clip highlighted by Mediaite.

“This is a two-way street,” the prominent liberal told host Stephanie Ruhle. “I think they have to all be big boys, big girls, and take the hits. Take the hits and hope that we have an audience that understands this.

“There are a lot of people in the press who can’t take a punch,” he continued. “Maybe I couldn’t either, I don’t remember, but you know, I think it’s important for you to be above this and keep doing what you’re doing. You’re not supposed to be popular. You’re supposed to tell people often what they don’t want to hear. That’s your job.”

His comments come amid heightened tensions between the Trump administration and left-leaning news outlets, as on-camera White House press briefings are becoming shorter and less frequent and the president continues to label major outlets as “fake news.”

Ms. Ruhle pushed back, asking Mr. Donahue how journalists are supposed to take the high road when the president “is really taking a page from the KGB playbook” and labeling them as “fake news.”

Ms. Ruhle claimed it’s “tough to take” for lower-paid journalists to be attacked by “elitists.”

Mr. Donahue responded, “I think that the best way to handle this is to just keep working. Don’t be so sensitive. Don’t look like [you] have a glass jaw.”

“I think that the press has to be above that,” he added.

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