Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are taking steps to open up to the press while also intensifying their criticism of the media as both look to shape coverage in the presidential campaign’s final 60 days.
Trump has lifted a controversial ban on certain outlets from covering his rallies, while Clinton this week broke a 278-day long streak of not holding a press conference.
Both candidates are image-conscious, historically unpopular, and hell-bent on controlling how the media portrays them through the home-stretch.
“Undecided voters are at record levels — something like 15 to 20 percent,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “Therefore, the campaign that wins the media coverage over the next 60 days is very likely to win the presidential election.”
For Republicans, it has long been held as orthodoxy that the media is overwhelmingly liberal and biased against them.
But many conservatives believe reporters have dropped any veneer of impartiality now that Trump is the nominee.
“Essentially the media has made the collective determination that Trump is ‘dangerous’ and they are going to let everyone know about it,” said O’Connell.
“It’s a sheer media pile on, and I have never seen anything like it,” he added. “Dole, Bush, McCain never got treated like this. Forget Trump’s flaws or verbal miscues for a second, the mainstream media have abandoned its journalistic credo for fairness and flat out tilted the coverage against Trump.”