Donald Trump said Wednesday that he has been the target of “record-setting bad treatment” at the hands of the media since announcing his presidential campaign.
In an interview with Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos that aired Thursday morning but was taped Wednesday inside Trump’s new luxury hotel in downtown Washington, the real estate mogul repeated his regular refrain that “the system is rigged” against Republicans. Recalling Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential bid, Trump said “it was horrible the way they were treated in the media.”
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“The only thing worse is the way I’m being treated. Hey, it’s record-setting bad treatment, what I’m getting,” he continued. “It’s the greatest pile-on in American history. I go to rallies and they’re starting to hate the media because they see it’s all a big lie. Not all, but a lot of it’s a big lie.”
Stephanopoulos countered that Trump has been the beneficiary of hours and hours of coverage during the GOP primary, free media that the ABC anchor valued at a billion dollars. But the GOP nominee said that “I don’t know if you call it a billion dollars free when it’s bad.”
Trump has complained regularly about the press throughout his campaign but has stepped up that rhetoric in recent weeks, offering media bias as the explanation for his sliding poll numbers. Reporters covering Trump events are the targets of frequent criticism from the crowd at Trump rallies, prompting some media outlets to hire private security for their reporters at the events.
The Manhattan billionaire said in August, during the tailspin his campaign entered as he feuded with a Gold Star family in the wake of the Democratic National Convention, that the “disgusting” media was to blame for his dipping poll numbers and that without the press, “I would be beating Hillary by 20 percent.” From the early stages of his campaign, he has attacked TV crews for not panning around to the audience at his rallies, failing to capture their sheer size and the scope of the crowd’s energy.
But the media has also regularly been blamed for fueling Trump’s rise, especially during the Republican primary where his campaign events were often carried live on TV. The former reality TV star’s bombastic stump speeches, especially early on in his White House bid, proved to be a ratings bonanza for cable networks, and he was a frequent call-in guest on morning news shows.
“The media gave him two billion dollars worth of free press,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former GOP primary rival of Trump’s and one of a handful of prominent Republicans to not endorse the party’s nominee. “I mean, I could be having a press conference and they’d have an empty podium with Trump speaking there.”
Later in the Wednesday interview, with his wife Melania Trump by his side, the real estate billionaire said the media often twists “something that I say absolutely perfect” into a negative headline. He admitted to Stephanopoulos that he he has, at times, made statements “where I could have done it a little bit differently,” but added that generally speaking, he knows exactly what he’s doing with the rhetoric he deploys on the campaign trail.
“Look, I went to an Ivy League school. I was a good student. I’m a very smart person. I know what I’m saying,” Trump said. “Sometimes I’ll say something that’s absolutely perfect and I’ll get a call after an interview, like with you, ‘oh did you say this or that?’ And they’ll skew it so unfairly.”
“But people see it for themselves, they make up their own minds,” Stephanopoulos followed up.
“Well, they don’t really because what happens is you poison their minds. You really do,” Trump replied. “The media poisons the mind of the American voter. They really do. It’s unfair. but the thing is the American voter is really smart. I mean I’m going to see how smart they are, but the American voter, I think the American voter is smarter than the media.”
Trump slams the media: ‘It’s the greatest pile-on in American history’ – Politico