Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Trump Meets the Media Primary

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Trump Meets the Media Primary

Article excerpt

After his confrontation with Megyn Kelly during last week's televised debate, Donald Trump was asked if he'd apologize to the Fox News anchor for calling her a "bimbo."

"I have nothing to apologize" for, he replied on "Meet the Press." "I thought she asked a very, very unfair question."

In another interview with The Washington Post, Trump lamented he had not been tossed "two or three softballs" by Kelly and the other Fox interrogators, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier. "It was boom, boom, boom, in terms of their questions, right from the start," he complained.


Until now, Trump has been treated like a celebrity. But when he stood on that stage in Cleveland, something changed.

From that moment, he's considered a serious candidate for president, and that shift was inevitable and essential. Only through media scrutiny can the voters get a true picture of the people who want to lead the country. Only then can they see past the scripts and the soundbites and glimpse the character behind the public mask.

The first test of the media primary is how candidates stand up to the pressure of intense questioning. Trump did not do well.

But the exam goes beyond one televised moment. Almost immediately, news organizations dug deeper into Trump's past, unearthing a string of comments demeaning women. While those comments have been public for years, they take on a new context now.

Other stories have dug into Trump's failed business dealings. There are more investigations to come.

The most important change in the political dynamic, however, is occurring inside voters' heads. Many Republicans will start holding Trump to a different standard.

The question will no longer be, "Is he amusing?" It will be "Is he reassuring? Can I trust his judgment?"

A similar media primary is happening on the Democratic side. Mainstream papers like the Post and The New York Times are leading probes of Hillary Clinton's email systems and the tangled financial dealings of her family foundation. …

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