- - Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What does a president have to do to get a fair shake from the press?

No Republican president is going to get consistently even-handed coverage from a press corps more interested in protecting an opposing agenda and maintaining approval from their peers.

But if you’re Donald Trump, you’re a target of a different kind. Mr. Trump’s populist approach represents an existential threat to everyone, press included, with a vested interest in the corrupt status quo.

If he succeeds, it’s curtains for them, and they know it. Therefore he must be destroyed at all costs, even if that means ripping apart the U.S. Constitution, the truth, the rule of law, the social fabric and basic human decency.

Two years into his presidency, the forces arrayed against him are growing more dishonest and panicky. As the original plan to undermine him and ruin his presidency — the Russian collusion fairy tale — unravels, they are flailing for something else with which to destroy him.

In the meantime, the media refuse to grant him an honest accounting of his remarkable achievements at the midway point of his first term. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama often received glowing reviews and/or protective coverage — even when, perhaps especially when, bad things befell their presidencies.

But Mr. Trump doesn’t even receive crumbs. In fact, a recent study by the Media Research Center found that 90 percent of network television coverage of Mr. Trump and his administration is negative.

It’s true that Mr. Trump often steps on his own good news with an ill-timed tweet or blow-up over some small matter. But the media’s anti-Trump posture appears to be all-consuming, even at the risk of imploding their own credibility, as the latest BuzzFeed fake news debacle illustrates. If a story hits Mr. Trump, it’s often considered too good to check. Print or broadcast now, ask questions later.

While the gatekeepers aren’t looking, however, Mr. Trump is delivering what he promised: A far stronger country.

Thanks to his pro-growth policies, a thriving economy is underway. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 3 percent over the last four quarters.

More than 5 million jobs have been created since 2016, and the unemployment rate remains below 4 percent. This historically low unemployment has particularly benefited blacks, Latinos and women, and poverty rates among those groups have also fallen to record lows. Wages are up in recent months, with workers enjoying their largest nominal year over year wage growth in nearly a decade.

Mr. Trump is also fulfilling his promise to bring back American manufacturing. The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Index had the highest annual average in its history over the past year. Manufacturing added a staggering 284,000 jobs in 2018, the most added in a year since 1997.

He’s also made extraordinary strides on trade, negotiating a new agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico to replace the counterproductive North American Free Trade Agreement, renegotiating the U.S.Korea Free Trade Agreement to preserve and grow jobs in the auto industry and increase American exports, launching new trade talks with Japan and the European Union, and through an unwavering application of tariffs, bringing China to the table.

Mr. Trump has also unleashed the United States’ vast energy resources, approving pipelines and fracking, and leading the United States to become a net natural gas exporter for the first time in 60 years.

He continues to chip away at the regulatory burden of Obamacare while introducing market and patient-based reforms to expand access to quality, affordable health care.

He’s remaking the federal judiciary with constitutional conservatives, and he’s secured confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court of two justices.

From the start, he’s taken a firm stand on enforcing the border, existing immigration laws and the rule of law, including staring down Democrats in a lengthy government shutdown over border security.

He’s rebuilding a military left hollowed-out by years of budget cuts, begun reform of the Veteran’s Administration, decimated ISIS’ territorial caliphate, exited the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (inspiring other nations to follow suit), began denuclearization talks with North Korea and secured the return of American hostages and the remains of U.S. soldiers from Pyongyang.

And he’s done it all gratis, having donated his presidential salary each quarter he’s been in office. A thankless job is even more thankless when not drawing a salary.

Any president with this level of success would be getting at least a few plaudits from the press. But Mr. Trump isn’t “any president.” He is a direct threat against the entrenched interests of the swamp. For the elite media mavens, he therefore deserves little to no coverage that might cast him in a positive light — even if that coverage is honest and fair.

The press is often aghast at Mr. Trump’s righteous indignation directed their way. But perhaps what worries them most is that by exposing them, he will render them largely irrelevant.

• Monica Crowley is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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