Point of fact: Trump hasn’t tried to destroy the free press; he has tried to teach it some manners. Maybe he isn’t the person best positioned to do so, but there is no doubt that most Americans share his low regard for journalism in general, and TV journalism in particular. There is also no doubt that Trump has been more accessible to the press than any president in my lifetime. He’s never met a scrum of reporters that didn’t have the same effect on him that catnip has on a kitty. If reporters don’t enjoy the rambunctious claws and teeth of the president, they should stop feeding him.
Donaldson compares Trump to other presidents since Kennedy, and finds him to be the only one who doesn’t “understand and accept the important role of the press.” Still, I doubt that John Kennedy would have been downing shots with editors and reporters if they had been writing stories about his romantic conquests instead of congratulating him on them. Likewise, it’s hard to imagine Lyndon Johnson looking kindly on a press (or Congress) that had taken a long, hard look at how he acquired his personal fortune (which, unlike Trump’s, had been amassed entirely while he was on the public payroll).
Let’s face it: Donaldson is just one more victim of Acosta’s con game. By trusting Acosta, Donaldson loses more than money though; he loses his own credibility, especially when he describes the showboating Acosta’s behavior at a Trump press conference last November as “perfectly reasonable and appropriate.”