The president is cozier with the press than is commonly understood

The Hannity revelation underscores a striking paradox: Even as Trump wages almost daily attacks on individual reporters and news organizations, and often seems bent on undermining the very idea of independent news media, behind the scenes, he arguably has the most frequent, most informal, and most sustained personal interactions with reporters and commentators of any president since the days of Kennedy and Bradlee (as well Joseph Alsop, Charles Bartlett and other journalists of that era who enjoyed special access to JFK).

The media figures Trump talks to informally go beyond his well-documented phone calls with sympathetic commentators like Hannity and Lou Dobbs. His media roster includes regular, if less-publicized engagement with beat reporters and executives at the New York Times, the Washington Post and, on occasion, POLITICO.

Phone calls or Oval Office mind-melds in this White House do not happen only as the result of longstanding and sporadically granted interview requests—that is the norm among recent presidents—but also on a more impromptu basis, sometimes initiated by Trump rather than reporters. In some cases, Trump has known journalists—like Maggie Haberman of the New York Times—for many years, giving a natural ease to their relationship, but in several other cases Trump has established a rapport with reporters, such as the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey or Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, he has only come to know after following their work as candidate or president.

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