Trump is shutting journalists out and complaining about them because they decided before his first day in office that his presidency was a disaster. The press is probably going to be proven correct about this, but reporters should spare us the faux-naïve surprise when he responds to their diurnal insistence that he is a fascist demagogue by making very tame jokes at their expense on Twitter. It’s not a frighteningly nihilistic assault on the freedom of the press or the nature of truth itself when he says that negative stories are “fake”: This is what politicians have always done, from John Adams to Bill Clinton. The same White House press briefings that they care so much about covering exist for the sole purpose of informing them that the administration is, weirdly, always right.
The willful inability of most journalists to acknowledge these painful adult realities does not exactly instill confidence in readers. Nor does the spoiled-brat dilettantish tone of most of their complaints. All three of the stories about that very scary tweet I saw in The Washington Post on Wednesday mentioned the fact that during the 2016 election on certain occasions — gasp — “Trump denied press credentials to various news outlets, including The Washington Post.” How dare he!