Donald J. Trump was on the defensive all week, battered from all sides for his heated statements hailing the Second Amendment and linking political opponents to the Islamic State.
“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS,” Mr. Trump fumed on Twitter shortly after dawn. “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”
The social-media broadside was no aberration. Long a vehement critic of the political news media, Mr. Trump has increasingly organized his general-election effort around antagonizing the press. He dedicates long sections of his speeches and innumerable tweets to savaging individual outlets, and claiming that media bias could effectively “rig” the election for Hillary Clinton.
The news media, he said, was determined to cover up Mrs. Clinton’s missteps and highlight his own. (Mr. Trump allowed that Fox News, home to several anchors who openly favor his candidacy, was an exception.)
(…) Republicans often complain about the national news media, arguing that most reporters and publications are tilted against them. In the 1992 presidential race, Republicans even produced a bumper sticker urging voters to “annoy the media” by re-electing President George Bush. And in his 2016 primary campaign, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida accused the press of being the equivalent of a “super PAC” for Democrats.
But the Trump campaign has made accusations of news media bias a pervasive theme, and has attacked publications and reporters with virulence. Since last year, Mr. Trump has made a practice of riling up his crowds with mockery of the media, often pointing to the press risers and describing reporters as dishonest.”