Vice Reporter Arrested Outside Trump Event

Vice News reports that one of its journalists, Alex Thompson, was arrested outside a Donald Trump campaign event in Houston on Saturday after inquiring about a media credential.

Thompson had previously applied for a credential to the event — a luncheon for families with relatives killed by undocumented immigrants — and was told by the Trump campaign that his application was pending, according to Vice. Thompson, hoping to cover the luncheon at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, showed up to inquire about the campaign’s decision.

“A man who identified himself as a hotel manager then asked Thompson to leave and warned that he would be arrested if he did not,” Vice reported. “Roughly two minutes later, without further warning and while Thompson was waiting for a member of Trump’s staff to clarify his access to the event, he was arrested by Houston police, handcuffed and escorted outside. Thompson spoke with his editors while handcuffed and said that he was never given any opportunity to explain himself to police.”

The Houston Police Department said Saturday that Thompson had been asked to leave the hotel twice. The first time, he had left; the second time, they said, “he refused to do so and told hotel employees they would have to have him arrested because he was not leaving.” Hotel management then asked police to arrest him on trespassing charges, according to HPD.

Thompson’s journalism career didn’t start at Vice — he used to be an editorial assistant to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (who has written critically about Trump and released a book this week called “The Year of Voting Dangerously” — an unflattering take on both major-party presidential nominees.)

The Trump campaign late Saturday released a statement denying that it had anything to do with the arrest:

“The campaign was not involved in this incident or aware of the details surrounding it. The event organizers were responsible for today’s media presence and requested the campaign limit attendance to the traveling pool. The campaign had no staff presence at check-in for guests or media and therefore has no further knowledge of what occurred.”
Trump has treated the press with disdain throughout the election season, but the past few days have been particularly fractious. On Thursday, a plane chartered by the Trump campaign that was carrying reporters was delayed by about 30 minutes en route to a rally in Laconia, N.H. Trump refused to wait for the journalists to arrive and bragged to the crowd about leaving them behind.

“I have really good news: I just heard that the press is stuck on their airplane,” the GOP standard-bearer told his audience. “They can’t get here. I love it. So they’re trying to get here now. They’re going to be about 30 minutes late. They called us and said, ‘Could you wait?’ I said absolutely not. Let’s get going. Right?”

On Friday, Trump hoodwinked cable news channels into airing a campaign event live by promising a “major statement” about his longtime suggestion that President Obama might not have been born in the United States. Instead, Trump spent most of the time advertising his new hotel in Washington and calling on military dignitaries who endorse him.

“President Obama was born in the United States,” he finally said. “Period.”

Journalists fumed about getting played.

Now comes Thompson’s arrest — and seven more weeks of campaign-media relations that don’t appear to be improving anytime soon

(h/t The Washington Post)


Charges were eventually dropped.


Trump Ditches, Then Mocks His Press Corps

Donald Trump on Thursday mocked his traveling press corps for being late to his rally, even though his campaign is responsible for arranging the pool’s travel.

“I have really good news for you,” the Republican nominee told supporters here, according to a livestream of the rally this and other pool reporters watched on a bus from the airport to the event location.

“I just heard the press is stuck on their airplane. They can’t get here. I love it. So they’re trying to get here now. They’re going to be about 30 minutes late. They called us and said could you wait? I said absolutely not. Let’s get going, New Hampshire.”

While television cameras continued to roll live on the rally, still photographers already at the venue opted not to shoot any images of the event out of solidarity with their pool colleagues.

“This is completely ridiculous and unacceptable. This has gone on for way to long and it’s time we take a stand,” said one member of the traveling press.

“The press corps is at a boiling point here and was more frustrated tonight than ever,” said another.

“There’s the want to do something among traveling press of course – being constantly mocked and demonized is awful – but there’s the competing feeling that news organizations have almost let too much slide to have any bargaining power at this point,” said a third member of Trump’s traveling press corps.

The reporters said they had yet to receive an explanation or response as to why they were left behind. Spokespeople for the campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

Some members of the traveling press considered not covering the event in an attempt to boycott, but their efforts were unsuccessful as management from various networks pushed back. Plus, the event was being carried live by the network pool, meaning Trump’s image was still being broadcast on television.

Trump, who blacklisted individual reporters and several news organizations (including POLITICO) until last Thursday, has made a habit of using the media as a punching bag while still largely enjoying saturation campaign coverage from television networks.

Trump has also criticized Hillary Clinton for avoiding the press. After going more than 260 days without holding a news conference, the Democratic nominee has repeatedly taken questions from the press in the past week, including in Greensboro, North Carolina, Thursday afternoon.

Clinton also began traveling on the same plane as her press pool two weeks ago, while Trump still travels without his.

Trump is the first candidate to go so long into a campaign season without traveling with his press corps. Neither campaign has the full-on protective pool that is with the candidate from the moment they leave their home or hotel until they return, but Clinton has a quasi-protective pool, meaning she does travel with the media on the same plane. Trump’s press pool travels separately.

Members of the media pay extra to travel on the campaign-arranged press planes and buses, with the distinct purpose of making sure they arrive on time and with the candidate to events, versus arranging their own travel. But this is far from the first time Trump left his press pool behind. In late August, when Trump traveled to Mexico meet the country’s president, he left his pool behind in Arizona. Earlier that same month, when Trump went to Baton Rouge to survey flood damage, the traveling press were also not invited. Trump said that the trip would be “non-political” with no press, but the visit was still featured prominently by all of the major outlets.

Trump took off from LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York, shortly after taping an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” late Thursday afternoon.

His press plane did not leave a different airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, until after 7:30 p.m. because some reporters who pooled Trump’s appearance on “Tonight Show” were caught in traffic leaving Manhattan.

Based on the final three minutes of Trump’s remarks, all the press pool was able to hear in person, it sounded like the GOP nominee stuck to the same scripted stump speech he’s been delivering over the past week.

(h/t Politico)


‘This is Badgering’: Trump Campaign Manager Comes Unglued Under Proof of Charity Claims

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway lashed out at CNN host Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday and accused the media of “badgering” Donald Trump because he would not provide evidence of his charitable donations.

During an interview with Conway on CNN’s New Day, Camerota noted that Trump had refused to release his tax returns because he was being audited, and asked the campaign manager if she would provide a letter from the IRS to prove he was under audit.

“I don’t know,” Conway shrugged. “Why? Are you calling him a liar?”

“And we’re taking Hillary Clinton’s word for she was ‘overheated’,” she added. “I mean, seriously, we’re running against a Clinton and we’re going to challenge someone’s veracity?”

Continuing to press for more transparency, Camerota asked if the campaign could prove vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s claim that Trump had donated “tens of millions” to charity.

“Donald Trump has been incredibly generous over the course of his life with his own money and his foundation’s money, which is his money,” Conway insisted.

“No,” Camerota replied. “The foundation’s money are other people who contributed to his foundation.”

“Okay,” Conway scoffed. “Are we going to actually question that Hillary Clinton and her husband made almost a quarter of a billion dollars and we’re supposed to just question — and that’s okay?”

After Camerota reminded Conway that Trump often touts his wealth, Conway pivoted to attacking Clinton for referring to some Trump voters as “deplorables.”

“I’m a capitalist, I just wish she would respect the hardworking men and women of this country who she thinks are a bunch of uneducated rubes coming down from the hills with no teeth and long fingernails, and just, you know, they need to be schooled by this precious woman in New York,” Conway said. “Do we even want a president of the United States who laughs at Americans?”

Camerota pressed on: “Part of why people are calling for him to release his taxes is so that we do know how he himself has given to charity. Will you or the campaign release exactly what that number is?”

“I doubted it,” Conway said dismissively. “This is like badgering. In other words, I don’t see it as journalism. I see it as badgering. In other words, we’ve had this conversation so many times on so many different networks, and yet, we’re not having conversations about what the middle class tax relief would actually mean for people’s wage stagnation.”

“How is it badgering to ask for the evidence of a claim?” Camerota wondered. “If Mike Pence is saying ‘tens of millions’ of dollars from Donald Trump, shouldn’t we see the evidence.”

“Did anybody ask Hillary Clinton for evidence she was overheated and dehydrated?” Conway shot back. “Is anyone asking her for evidence of why she thinks she so precious and special that she would have break protocol at Ground Zero on Sunday, Alisyn, and take her to her daughter’s apartment rather than a hospital?”

“I just don’t buy that,” Camerota remarked. “You also just can’t make claims and expect everyone to just accept it.”

“Donald Trump is a very generous man,” Conway said. “And to employ tens of thousands of people from different countries, both genders certainly, from all walks of life over the years.”

“That’s not charity,” Camerota observed. “Employment is not charity.”

(h/t Raw Story)


Kellyanne Conway expertly dodged, ducked, dipped, dove, and dodged every question that was thrown at her, never once coming close to a straightforward answer.

Many times her answers to questions, like on Trump’s lack of transparency, was to point out that their Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, was engaging in the same activity. So basically her response was to point to how low Clinton’s bar was on these issues, but then justify their stance by having their bar lowered to the exact same level. That doesn’t make a good argument as to why one should trust Trump over Clinton.

We covered Trump’s lack of charitable giving back in April 2016, so it is good to see this getting national attention it deserves. Trump brought this extra scrutiny on himself with illegal contributions from his foundation to bribe Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to not prosecute his Trump University scam.

Trump has also had other controversy surrounding his charitable giving, such as donations to veterans groups. Four months after claiming he gave money to veterans groups, reporters uncovered the fact that Trump never donated a dime. Once he was exposed he cut a check that evening then went on an all out attack on the media for uncovering his lie.

You can see the same play happening here with Conway, don’t answer questions, just attack the media for even bringing up these completely valid and relevant questions.



Trump Defends Putin and Blasts US Media on Putin Propaganda TV Network

Donald Trump gave an interview Thursday that aired on a television station funded by the Kremlin, arguing that the Russian government was “probably” not meddling in the American presidential race.

Speaking to Larry King on RT America, which is an arm of government-funded news outlet Russia Today, Trump said it would “not be appropriate” if Russian forces were looking to influence the race, which is suspected by some investigators and has been fanned by Hillary Clinton’s campaign as recently as Thursday morning.

He also suggested that the allegation was politically motivated.

“I think it’s probably unlikely. Maybe the Democrats are putting that out — who knows,” Trump told King. “If they are doing something, I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it. Because that would not be appropriate at all.”

Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, told CNN the interview was recorded as a podcast and was a favor to King, adding, “Mr. Trump was never told it would be shared anywhere else.” Miller later said Trump wouldn’t have agreed to do the interview had he known it would be aired on RT.

The interview was striking given that Trump spent Thursday on the defensive over some of his laudatory comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton attacked Trump for praising Putin on Wednesday evening at the “Commander in Chief Forum” as a stronger leader than President Barack Obama, and her campaign has for weeks pointed out the alleged ties between Trump’s associates and Russian interests.

Yet the Republican nominee’s operation on Thursday indicated no discomfort with the mounting criticism, with Trump running mate Mike Pence echoing the distinction made between Putin and Obama. And the appearance on Russian television suggested no hesitation from Trump to dive into the controversy.

Putin has called the hack of Democratic officials’ email accounts a “public service” but has denied Russian involvement. Asked by King if he agreed with Putin’s assessment, Trump declined to pass judgment.

“I don’t know who hacked. You tell me: Who hacked?” Trump said, claiming he had not heard Putin’s statement. “I have absolutely no opinion on that.”

Asked during the RT America interview what has surprised him most about the political process, Trump unloaded on the American press.

“Well, I think the dishonesty of the media. The media has been unbelievably dishonest,” Trump responded. “I mean they’ll take a statement that you make which is perfect and they’ll cut it up and chop it up and shorten it or lengthen it or do something with it.”

“And all of a sudden it doesn’t look as good as it did when you actually said it. But there’s tremendous dishonesty with the media. Not all of it, obviously, but tremendous dishonesty,” he said.

Trump also weighed in on domestic politics, declining to criticize Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson for a gaffe he made earlier on Thursday and saying unequivocally that Johnson should not be in the general election debate later this month. Johnson would need to earn 15% support in polls to make the stage, an effort seemingly hampered when he failed to identify the war-torn city of Aleppo, Syria, in a live television interview.

“He’s not too much of a factor,” Trump said. “I’d rather it be Hillary and myself, because we’re the only two with a chance of winning.”

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, defended Trump’s appearance to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Friday, saying that Trump wasn’t criticizing the US to say the Iraq War was a failure.

“If you think that Donald Trump is the only person in this country that thinks we’ve had a feckless, anemic foreign policy in the last eight years, then that’s just not true,” Conway said.

She also clarified Trump’s comments on Putin the day before, in which Trump called Putin a stronger leader than Obama in his country.

“In the full clip he said, ‘That’s not the system I agree with, but he’s a strong leader there,'” Conway said. “I mean, nobody wants to play the full clip.”

King’s show, PoliticKing, is produced by Ora TV, which was founded by King and Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim in 2012. In June 2015, Ora announced it was dropping plans to work on a television project with Trump following his controversial remarks about undocumented Mexican immigrants.

(h/t CNN, Washington Post)


As Mediate points out, Trump likely didn’t think too much beyond just doing an interview with his longtime friend Larry King. And the Trump campaign spokeswoman said that they thought Larry King interview was going to be on King’s podcast, not Russia Today.

What would be worse, though? A U.S. presidential candidate agreeing to do an interview on Russia Today, or doing one by accident?


Melania Trump Sues Daily Mail and US Blogger for $150m Over Sex Worker Claims

Melania Trump filed a lawsuit against the Daily Mail and a Maryland political blogger on Thursday for publishing “false and tremendously damaging” statements claiming the would-be first lady previously worked as an “escort,” according to court documents and her lawyer.

Trump sued Mail Media, Inc. which publishes the Daily Mail, as well as Webster Griffin Tarpley, who runs the blog, in a lawsuit filed in the state circuit court of Montgomery County, Maryland.

“These defendants made several statements about Mrs. Trump that are 100% false and tremendously damaging to her personal and professional reputation,” lawyer Charles Harder said in a statement. “Their many lies include, among others, that Mrs. Trump supposedly was an ‘escort’ in the 1990s before she met her husband.”

Harder famously represented Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker Media, which eventually led to the site shutting down.

The lawsuit cites an article on that alleged that Melania Trump worked as a “high-end escort” and suffered from a “full-blown nervous breakdown” after the Republican convention, as well as an article published on the Daily Mail website referencing similar claims.

The suit says Trump is going after both publications for “in excess of $75,000” but Harder said in his statement that the “Defendants’ actions are so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150 million dollars.”

Tarpley removed the blog in question and published an apology and retraction on or about August 22, according to the suit.

But Tarpley also issued a response to the legal filing saying, “Melania Trump’s lawsuit against me is without merit. Mrs. Trump is a public figure actively engaged in the Trump for president campaign. We are confident that Mrs. Trump will not be able to meet her high burden of proving the statements published about her on my website were defamatory in any way. Her lawsuit is a blatant attempt to intimidate not only me but journalists of all stripes into remaining silent with regard to public figures. This lawsuit is a direct affront to First Amendment principles and free speech in our democratic society.”

The Daily Mail also published an extensive retraction online on Thursday, saying the article “did not intend to state or suggest that these allegations are true, nor did it intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the ‘sex business.'”

“To the contrary, The Daily Mail newspaper article stated that there was no support for the allegations, and it provided adamant denials from Mrs. Trump’s spokesperson and from Mr. Zampolli,” the retraction said.

The Daily Mail’s retraction pointed out that “Among other things, the article noted that allegations have been made in a book available on Amazon about a modeling agency where Mrs. Trump worked in Milan being ‘something like a gentleman’s club,’ and an article published by Suzy, a Slovenian magazine, alleged that Mrs. Trump’s modeling agency in New York … ‘operated as an escort agency for wealthy clients.'”

Trump had previously placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims, including the Daily Mail, according to statement from Harder on August 23.

(h/t NBC News)


We do not support false allegations, we do not believe Mrs. Trump was an escort, however we are tracking this as part of our database for yet another instance of the Trump family harassing the press with lawsuits. Please don’t sue us.

Trump Calls Female ‘Morning Joe’ Co-Host Mika Brzezinski ‘Crazy and Very Dumb

Donald Trump on Friday ratcheted up his attacks of the co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after the show devoted part of its panel discussion to criticizing the Republican nominee on the multitude of flip-flops on “softening” his immigration policy over the past 24 hours.

Trump tweeted, referring to Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough:

“Just heard that crazy and very dumb @morningmika had a mental breakdown while talking about me on the low ratings @Morning_Joe. Joe a mess!”

The Republican nominee has frequently targeted the show on Twitter, threatening last month to “tell the real story” about Scarborough and Brzezinski, who opened the Friday show by noting his comments to radio host Laura Ingraham that there would indeed be “softening” in his immigration plan, despite playing to his base during his hyped Wednesday night speech in Arizona.


Trump surrogate Mark Burns lashes out at media for blackface cartoon fallout

Days after posting a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface to his Twitter account, evangelical pastor and Donald Trump surrogate Mark Burns used another cartoon to blame the media for the backlash he faced.

The cartoon posted Thursday by Burns features a sullen-looking Clinton, her face covered in green makeup with the word “scandal” written on it multiple times. Beside the former secretary of state is a reporter holding a microphone with a “media” mic flag, pointing away from Clinton.

“Look over there!” the reporter says in the cartoon. “A Hillary blackface cartoon!”

In the post accompanying the drawing, Burns wrote, “Isn’t this the TRUTH…! This is what Liberal #MSM do for @HillaryClinton,” using the hashtag abbreviation for mainstream media. He then complimented the cartoonist on his “great drawing.”

On Monday, Burns tweeted out a drawing of Clinton in blackface, wearing a t-shirt that read “No hot sauce no peace!” and holding a sign that said “#@!*✶ the police.” Next to Clinton in the cartoon was text that read “I ain’t no ways tired of pandering to African Americans,” and in the tweet, Burns conveyed what he said was Clinton’s message to African-American voters: “Black Americans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES and letting me use you again..See you again in 4 years.”

The evangelical pastor, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, later deleted the tweet but then posted another one, again featuring the cartoon, that read “Getting Your Head chopped off by ISIS is more important than a cartoon…Can You Hear Me Now? #STOPTHEPANDERING.”

He also later apologized for the original post, saying it was “not at all my intention to offend anyone.”

Burns posted the blackface cartoon in the midst of Trump’s attempt to do more to reach out to black voters, a group with which he has polled poorly. Before mostly-white audiences, Trump has made the case to African-Americans that they have been failed by Democrats who have left them in dangerous neighborhoods with poor schools and little economic opportunity. Trump has positioned himself as a fresh alternative, often asking black voters “what do you have to lose?” by voting for him.

“The tweet is a frustration that I have as a black man here in America and how I see African-Americans in many cases — not every case but in many cases — are suffering throughout this country and to see how en masse we have been voting for the Democratic Party en masse and yet we have very little to show for it,” Burn said during a phone interview on MSNBC earlier this week, explaining his original blackface tweet. “It’s a vexation to me to see how the Democratic Party, and especially Hillary Clinton, what I call tap dance for the black vote, get it and then disappear for four more years.”

(h/t Politico)


Trump and his campaign regularly makes offensive statements then uses the tactic of blaming the media for reporting on them.

Trump Ditches Press For Mexico Trip

Members of the press corps assigned to cover Donald Trump’s campaign have criss-crossed the country on the trail with the GOP nominee for months, but they won’t be in Mexico for Trump’s big meeting on Wednesday with President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The last-minute jaunt, which was announced late Tuesday, further strained the campaign’s relations with the press corps. Although there is a chartered plane for members of the Trump press corps, it was redirected to Phoenix ahead of the GOP nominee’s scheduled speech on immigration there on Wednesday evening.

A New York Times reporter tweeted that journalists got no heads-up about the trip and the campaign made no effort to get them to Mexico:

The move left reporters “seething” on a daily press call with Trump spokesman Jason Miller, who said only that the journalists’ complaints were “noted,” an anonymous source on the call told Politico.

The source also told Politico that the campaign didn’t reach out to the five major TV networks about covering the meeting until 3 a.m. Wednesday. Although some reporters were weighing the possibility of chartering their own flight to Mexico, they ultimately decided against it, in part because they say the campaign hadn’t indicated there would be any press availability:

During a Wednesday morning appearance on “Fox and Friends,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway further roiled frustrated members of the press by saying Trump would take questions from the Mexican and American press during the visit after all.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond Wednesday morning to a request from TPM seeking clarification on the decision.

Here’s what some other members of the press were saying about the Mexico trip:

(h/t Talking Points Memo)

Trump Blames ‘Crooked Media’ for Reporting on the Statements He Makes

After a week of bad poll numbers, Donald Trump is blaming the media.

“If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%.”

“It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” he tweeted Sunday afternoon.

His blasts against the media on Twitter on Sunday followed what he told a crowd at a Connecticut rally Saturday night: “I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton. I’m running against the crooked media.”

In another tweet, Trump referred to the large size of his rallies and the passion of his supporters, claiming that these details have been ignored by reporters.

“My rallies are not covered properly by the media,” he said in Connecticut. “They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm.”

To emphasize the statement he made Saturday at the rally in Fairfield, Connecticut, about the “crooked media”, the 70-year-old real estate tycoon waved his finger in a horizontal line toward where the press was stationed.

(h/t ABC News)


Basically Donald Trump is complaining that the media should be covering his economic plan, but takes no responsibility on a week full of gaffes that redirected attention away from what should have been an honest discussion on his policy.

Trump wasted yet another opportunity to show the he can stay on message by making ridiculous comments such as:

The single best response from the media came from CNN’s Jake Tapper who sarcastically quipped, “How dare we cover the comments he makes.

The irony that Donald J. Trump, leader of the conspiracy theory “birther” movement, attempting to lecture the press on ethics is not lost on us.

The birther movement, which Trump was the public face, was an attempt to discredit the legitimacy of the Presidency of Barack Obama by claiming he was not a natural born citizen, as required by the United States Constitution. Right-wing news media, like Fox News, went full-birther and propped up Donald Trump as a champion for the “truth.”

President Obama released his short form birth certificate in June 12, 2008 and the long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011.

Some of the examples of crooked statements made by Trump that were completely false include:

  • On Good Morning America, Trump claimed he was “skeptical” of President Obama’s citizenship, years after Obama released his short form birth certificate.
  • During a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference falsely claimed growing up nobody knew Obama. CNN host Suzanne Malveaux released a documentary earlier that year where she spoke with people who grew up with President Obama.
  • Trump got into a shouting match with Whoopi Goldberg while defending the obvious racial bias in the birther claims.
  • In an NBC News interview said that there is a big possibility” Obama may have violated the Constitution by not being born in the United States, again, this was years after Obama released his short form birth certificate, proving he was indeed born in Hawaii.


Trump Whines That “Lowest Form of Life” Journalists Report on What He Says

Donald 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.

At times, his enthusiasm for venting anger about the news media has seemed to rival his interest in criticizing Mrs. Clinton. In Erie, Pa., on Friday, Mr. Trump swerved back and forth between attacks on Mrs. Clinton and an extended airing of grievances about the press.

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.)

“These people are the lowest form of life, I’m telling you,” he said, pointing at the journalists covering his rally. “They are the lowest form of humanity.”

In Altoona, Pa., on Friday evening, Mr. Trump continued his diatribe: “It is so ridiculous, the pile on,” he complained of the coverage of his campaign. “Every single day, story after story after story.”

Mr. Trump’s crowd-pleasing allegations of news media malevolence also serve a tactical purpose: Providing him license to revise or play down his remarks. After stating several times this week that he considered Mr. Obama to be the founder of the Islamic State, Mr. Trump reversed course on Friday with a declaration that he had only been speaking sarcastically and that the press simply did not understand.

In Pennsylvania, he reiterated that he had been sarcastic, but added: “Not that sarcastic, to be honest with you.”

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.

On the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont fulminated this year about the “corporate media,” which he described as hostile to liberal ideals. And aides and supporters of Mrs. Clinton routinely complain that reporters treat her unfairly.

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.

In Erie on Friday, his audience jeered each time Mr. Trump mentioned a news outlet, and at one point many in the crowd turned their backs on him to face the press and express their contempt with a variety of shouts and gestures. “Dinosaur media is failing!” one man yelled.

Mr. Trump’s slashing attacks have generated embarrassing scenes for his campaign, as agitated Trump fans have acted on his goading. On Thursday night, video circulated widely online of an angry Trump supporter berating reporters and making an obscene gesture in their direction in Kissimmee, Fla. In one instance during the primaries, Katy Tur, a reporter for NBC News, reported she was escorted to her car by the Secret Service after a rally in which Mr. Trump assailed her by name.

If bashing the media proved an effective way of rallying the Republican base to his side during the primaries, Mr. Trump must now prove himself to a broader community of voters in the general election, who are far less preoccupied with the notion of press bias. Republican strategists see Mr. Trump’s offensive mainly as an exercise in thin-skinned defensiveness, rather than a shrewd political strategy.

Kevin Madden, a former spokesman for Mitt Romney’s and George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, said Mr. Trump was veering away from issues actually weighing on swing voters, which he said were “economy and security-focused.”

“Whining about media coverage is just that: It’s whining,” Mr. Madden said. Of complaints, Mr. Madden said: “Any campaign that tells you it makes a difference with swing voters is just lying to themselves and lazy, because it’s easier than developing an actual strategy or message.”

(h/t New York Times)


Kissimmee , FL – 8/11/2016

Erie, PA – 8/12/2016

Altoona, PA – 8/12/2016


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