Malacandra.me

He just wants to be loved by the media

He just wants to be loved by the media

by digby

He always has:

Even as Trump wages almost daily attacks on individual reporters and news organizations, and often seems bent on undermining the very idea of independent news media, behind the scenes, he arguably has the most frequent, most informal, and most sustained personal interactions with reporters and commentators of any president since the days of Kennedy and Bradlee (as well Joseph Alsop, Charles Bartlett and other journalists of that era who enjoyed special access to JFK).

The media figures Trump talks to informally go beyond his well-documented phone calls with sympathetic commentators like Hannity and Lou Dobbs. His media roster includes regular, if less-publicized engagement with beat reporters and executives at the New York Times, the Washington Post and, on occasion, POLITICO.

Phone calls or Oval Office mind-melds in this White House do not happen only as the result of longstanding and sporadically granted interview requests—that is the norm among recent presidents—but also on a more impromptu basis, sometimes initiated by Trump rather than reporters. In some cases, Trump has known journalists—like Maggie Haberman of the New York Times—for many years, giving a natural ease to their relationship, but in several other cases Trump has established a rapport with reporters, such as the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey or Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, he has only come to know after following their work as candidate or president.

Some reporters, in background accounts, describe being called by Trump at bars and cable television studios.

These interactions, according to people with firsthand or close secondhand knowledge of them, reflect a keen awareness by Trump of individual personalities in the sea of beat reporters covering him, and a fixation on key figures at powerful news organizations. He’s quizzed some reporters on their romantic lives. He knows what book projects are underway by various Washington reporters, is participating in several of them and soaks up intelligence of what the books are likely to say. (He gave an interview to POLITICO’s Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer for a book to be released this spring, and another to POLITICO’s Tim Alberta for one to be released in the summer.) While Trump has kept his distance from the Washington social scene—he rarely goes out except to dinner at his own nearby hotel—he is often current on the gossip that flows in these settings.

The main theme of presidential conversations, of course, is not social frivolities but the same subject that animates Trump on Twitter and in public remarks: what a great job he believes he is doing, and his conviction that he is not getting enough credit.


In all these conversations, Trump toggles back and forth between on-the-record, on-background, and off-the-record—betraying a fluency with reportorial rules of engagement that is more typically found in operatives than in principals. Those who cover the White House say they often perceive that Trump—if he could—would shed the restraining influences of schedulers and handlers and do even more direct outreach with journalists. This is a president, after all, who not that long ago used to call reporters at the Page Six gossip column several times a week to share tips or try to shape items, according to veterans of the New York Post.

There do not seem to be examples of beat news reporters having the kind of sustained engagement with Trump enjoyed by ideological fellow travelers like Hannity. At the same time, there is much more regular connection between this group than most readers and viewers assume with a president who regularly says journalists are “the enemy of the people.”


This is really rather pathetic. He calls them fake news and his followers spit on the "enemies of the people" but in private he grovels for their attention, deperately trying to get them to love him so he'll get good press.

I mean, it's not hard to believe that the press corps would fall for it. They often do. It's a testament to how odious and corrupt he is that it doesn't work.