Trumpenstein: Creating a Media Monster

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with a grizzled, veteran journalist who’s done stints from the front lines to the editor’s office, when my phone vibrated in my pocket. These days, we all know what that feeling means: Trump News.

And indeed, when I pulled out my phone, there was a notification from the Washington Post. I read it, and looked over to my journalistically-inclined friend; who is consistently reserved, usually skeptical, often news-bored, and always wears his well-earned been-there-done-that attitude like a badge of honor.

I said: “Flynn just asked for immunity.”

He smiled: “This is gonna be fun.”

Meet the monster of Donald Trump’s creation.

While Trump likes to tout his achievements from his 100+ days in the White House, he leaves out a very important one. His habitual lies and rabid attacks on the media forced journalists to get more excited about their work and more adamant about defending the vital nature of their profession.

He also has made them better at their jobs.

For evidence, look at the current scandal. Yes, the president’s excuse for firing James Comey is a laughable farce, and yes, this administration leaks at an unprecedented rate (today’s media doesn’t need a Deep Throat because everyone in DC is already screaming at the top of their lungs). But still, the urgency, focus, and toughness with which the media has attacked this story would have been unthinkable three months ago, back when they were still wringing hands over something as trivial as calling a lie a lie.

Cut to this week when Trump’s lies are being uncovered, corrected, and replaced by reality in near realtime.

It turns out it’s a really bad idea for a sitting president to relentlessly attack and malign those who cover him. And don’t even get me started on why it’s a bad idea to make enemies of intel and law enforcement agencies.

Trump spent 100+ days attacking the press, which forced them — for their own survival, and maybe democracy’s — to get better at their jobs. And now his creation will bring him down.

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.