Trump has bragged about that fact that more conservatives trust him than they do the media. But it’s nothing to be proud of. It’s something that should deeply trouble everyone, but especially the President of the United States.

A free, strong press has always been, for all its imperfections, the watchdog of the state and a pillar of democracy vital to the health of our nation. Sowing distrust in it the way he regularly does not only creates confusion and chaos, it leads to ill-fated uprisings (like white nationalism), needless paranoia, increased hostilities and a collective sense that no one can be trusted.

That’s a horrible thing to want. But if you’re Trump and you want to be the only voice of record, sowing distrust in all sorts of institutions — from the press to Congress to the intelligence community to the military — is how you consolidate power.