Donald Trump is having a rough go of it in the media of late.
The GOP front-runner has for months thrived on the around-the-clock coverage of his nontraditional campaign. But several tough exchanges this week have proved that there’s also a downside to his reliance on earned media.
Reporters and anchors have provoked unforced errors from Trump, fact-checked and challenged his oft-repeated assertions in real-time and rebuked the surrogates who have at times struggled to defend their candidate.
It’s a significant turn of events in a primary that has otherwise been defined by Trump’s mastery of the news cycle.
Some conservatives believe that the media is all too eager to twist the knife on a candidate that is despised by many political elites.
“Part of this is malice on the media’s part,” said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell. “He’s been able to outfox them at every turn, and now that he’s backed into a corner you see some of the latent aggression coming out here as they try and make up for past instances where he’s gotten the better of them.”
“The media gives and the media takes away,” O’Connell said. “It got away from him this week. If Trump loses the nomination, I think this is the week we’ll look back on as when the bottom fell out.”