Why the press can’t (and shouldn’t) quit Trump

Ever since Donald Trump appeared on Campaign 2016’s horizon, journalists have been imploring other journalists not to cover him. This began, amazingly, five months before he announced he was running for president, when Conor Friedersdorf laid down the dictum in the Atlantic. Just last week, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown bookended Friedersdorf’s argument with a piece in POLITICO Magazine, calling upon TV news to stage a one-week Trump moratorium because TV coverage was only making him stronger.

“TV turns [Trump] on and only TV can turn him off,” Brown wrote. “Let’s stop being complicit in promoting his hateful and harmful demagoguery. Just for one week.”

Additional recent fretting about the Trump coverage: On Sunday, Brian Stelter wrestled with Campbell’s proposal on his show, Reliable Sources; over the weekend, NPR solicited the views of three top Washington editors last week on the topic; and last week in the Boston Globe, columnist Joanna Weiss called on the Republican Party to eject Trump from the next debate. In the New Yorker, John Cassidy asked, “Is there a way, short of deliberately restricting his television appearances, to insure that he doesn’t have it his own way?” Trump coverage complaints are coming from inside the building, too: CNN producers grumbled about all the Trump obsession to network President Jeff Zucker at a company town hall, as The Wrap reported in September.

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