President Trump’s view of the media is well-documented. Advancing his administration's explicit strategy of treating the press like the opposition party, Trump said during Thursday’s press conference, “I haven’t seen more dishonest media than the political media.” But this time, Trump went beyond merely bashing the Fourth Estate writ large: He offered his criticisms outlet by outlet, reporter by reporter.
What did the media critic in chief sound like?
In response to CNN’s Jim Acosta asking how Trump could insist the New York Times story about his aids being in communication with Russian intelligence could be false while simultaneously insisting the leaks are real (and dangerous):
You look at your show that goes on at 10 in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn't have good ratings, but the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump. And the hatred and venom coming from his mouth. The hatred coming from other people on your network. Now, I will say this, I watch it. I see it. I am amazed by it. And I just think you'd be a lot better off, I honestly do. The public gets it, you know. Look, when I go to rallies, they turn around and start screaming at CNN. They want to throw their placards at CNN. I think you would do much better by being different.
Tomorrow the headlines are going to be, “Donald Trump Rants and Raves.” I'm not ranting and raving.
In response to hearing BBC reporter Jon Sopel's British accent:
Trump: Where are you from?
Reporter: The BBC.
Trump: Here’s another beauty.
Reporter: It’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair.
Trump: Yeah, sure. Just like CNN. Right.
After saying he wanted to find a “friendly reporter” and then calling on a reporter for Ami Magazine, which caters to the Orthodox Jewish community:
Are you a friendly reporter? Watch how friendly he is. Go ahead.
After the reporter asked a question about how the government would address anti-Semitism:
He said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question. And it's not. It's not. Not a simple question, not a fair question. OK, sit down.
In response to a question in which a reporter asked him to talk about “what first lady Melania Trump does for the country” and what the reopening of the White House Visitors Office “means” to Trump when there’s “a unique level of interest in your administration”:
Trump: Now that’s what I call a nice question. That is very nice. Who are you with?
Reporter: UNF News. It’s an independent—
Trump: Then I’m going to start watching.
After calling on April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks:
Trump: This is going to be a bad question. But that’s OK.
Reporter: No, it’s not going to be a bad question.
Trump: Good, because I enjoy watching you on television.
After Ryan asked about Trump’s plan for “inner cities” and his executive order on historically black colleges and universities to be signed in the afternoon:
Trump: That was very professional and very good.
Reporter: I’m very professional.
Trump also paused to compliment his current favorite morning show:
Fox and Friends in the morning, they are very honorable people. Not because they are good. Because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show.