Donald Trump has pushed the media to shake up its long-standing routine of reporting whatever Republicans say in news stories and intermittently calling out their lies in fact-checks. Now, Trump’s constant stream of blatant lies sometimes gets called out even in basic news stories as well as in fact-checks, denying him the headlines he wants and making other Republicans look bad by association. Since Republicans aren’t going to start telling the truth, the answer, clearly, is for them to go to war with the media. That’s the game plan for 2018:
… interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.
The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the media as they are on President Trump. That means embracing conflict with local and national journalists, taking them on to show Republicans voters that they, just like the president, are battling a biased press corps out to destroy them.
Most Republicans probably won’t take it as far as Montana’s Greg Gianforte and actually assault reporters who ask them questions about inconvenient things like Republican policies, but it’s nearly a year and a half until the 2018 elections. We can’t be sure things won’t get to that point.
And physical attacks on reporters aren’t the only escalation tool Republicans have in their arsenal. Donald Trump and his top advisers have already made the jump from attacking the media to attacking the First Amendment. How long will it take for the rest of his party to catch up with him?