Of course the video is juvenile; of course the president should be spending more time staffing his administration, learning what’s in the Senate health-care bill, and boning up on policy. But what purpose does this snark serve? It only encourages the view of Trump—and many of his supporters—that the media are out to get him and view him as the enemy.
The press tends to fare best when it doesn’t make itself the story, but that’s particularly imperative here. As Ishaan Tharoor writes, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan offers a cautionary tale of what happens when a free press fails to defend itself effectively against an authoritarian leader. But it isn’t sufficient just to declare that the press is under attack. It’s not even enough to declare that the First Amendment is under attack, since even that has lost public support. In a Newseum poll, 74 percent of respondents did not think that “fake news” should be protected by freedom of the press—a grave misunderstanding of how a free press operates. Four in 10 Millennials support censorship of offensive speech.