- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2017

Conservative political commentator and Emmy Award-winning actor Ben Stein argued Sunday that President Trump has been able to “cleverly” manipulate the mainstream media into becoming his biggest ally.

“The media is a joke in this situation,” Mr. Stein told host Ana Cabrera on “CNN Newsroom.”

“First of all, they’re the ones who built him up. Without the media, he would still be back running casinos somewhere,” he said.

“He has played the media fantastically, unbelievably well,” Mr. Stein continued, according to a clip obtained by Newsbusters. “The media is not his enemy. He has cleverly made the media his main ally, and the media is laughing as if they think they’re somebody great and holy and neutral and above it all. They’re not holy and above it all.

“They are a sharp instrument of the left in this country, but Trump has managed to turn it on its head and make them the bad guys out there in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and places he was never expected to win. So, I mean, they should be laughing at themselves, not laughing at him.”

Mr. Stein, a former speechwriter for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, made the comments in response to comedian Hasan Minhaj’s performance Saturday at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which Mr. Trump did not attend.

Mr. Minhaj, a correspondent for “The Daily Show,” made jokes claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin is the real U.S. president and that Mr. Trump is the “liar-in-chief.”

“I thought what Mr. Minhaj said was sickening,” Mr. Stein said. “Frankly, I felt like vomiting, and I couldn’t watch it for very long.

“I think it’s stunning to belittle and attack and mock a President at such a base and villainous level, and to describe him as a Soviet agent and ‘liar-in-chief,’ especially to the media,” Mr. Stein added.

“Even Nixon was not held up to the same level of ridicule, mockery, and vicious attacks that Trump is,” he said.

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