Combative, but not cruel, Mr. President

The rest of the country doesn’t mind the jousting between the president and the media — again, most of the time. They understand exactly with whom Trump is battling, and it isn’t them. The amplification and monetization of outrage via the Web, talk radio and cable news consume airtime but solve none of the country’s challenges. The five appointees mentioned are doing the latter, and here may be the genius of the president’s bare-knuckle match with the media: He provides the central attraction, an all-consuming show, while the hard work of fixes gets done without much organized opposition, as the left seems incapable of organizing anything except marches against the president.

This exhausting battle is a giant diversion. But it does create space for major regulatory and agency reform and redirection. There is a limit, however, to how much good the president does by dominating media. The president reached and exceeded that limit with his escalation of this war with his tweets about Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. The tweets were wrong because they were cruel. They don’t energize the base, except at its far fringes. They shrink it.