President-elect Donald Trump, who demonstrated unprecedented hostility toward the press throughout the 2016 campaign, now feels emboldened in victory.
“I think the press has shown that it’s much weaker than people thought,” Trump told “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl. “Nobody has ever been hit by press like I have and I’m here.”
The president-elect’s takeaway is not without merit: as The Huffington Post noted Tuesday night, his victory challenged the power of the press. Despite major media failings, especially early on, news organizations scrutinized Trump’s many false claims, investigated his shady business dealings and charity, and highlighted examples of bigotry and misogyny. Many news outlets editorialized against Trump as being uniquely unqualified for office and a danger to democracy. And yet he won.
Still, Trump’s dismissal of the press’ clout in his first TV interview doesn’t bode well for journalists already alarmed by his campaign’s blacklisting of news organizations and the candidate’s reckless attacks on individual reporters on stage and on Twitter. Trump’s threats during his campaign of legal action against the press and musings about opening up libel laws and curbing freedom of expression have generated legitimate fears about the future president’s commitment to the First Amendment.
Trump is already providing less access than past presidents-elect by refusing to allow a small pool of journalists to travel with him.
The relationship may only grow more fraught. During the post-interview “60 Minutes Overtime” segment, Stahl indicated that Trump’s not letting bygones be bygones even after his victory.
“The bitterness toward the press is real, alive and deep,” she said.