Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

They Gave Clinton What She Wanted

There are going to be, for a very long time, a lot of Trump supporters who simply refuse to accept that they were conned. They will blame me. They will blame others. They will never accept responsibility for an easily predictable defeat — a defeat in large part merely by Trump’s own words used against him.

The media too will never really be honest. The media will talk about Republican detachment. They will talk about Republican civil wars. The media will also, moving forward, spend a lot of time hanging Trump around the necks of Republicans like a millstone. What the media will never confess to or own up to acknowledge is the role the media played in giving Hillary Clinton exactly what she wanted.

Many Trump voters sided with Trump because they thought the establishment had hand picked sure fire losers like McCain and Romney. They wanted to pick this time. But subtly and effectively, the media chose for them. Donald Trump’s plane landings were treated by CNN as if they were Air Force One landings. Trump was allowed phone call visits on shows across America where other candidates were expected to be in studio.

During the course of the primaries, Trump benefited from vastly more free air time than any other Republican. What made it so astounding was how uncritically the coverage of Trump was. Where other candidates had rallies and speeches cut short, Trump’s ran in their entirety. Where others candidates were fact checked and rebutted, Trump was given a pass.

Trump had the advantage of being a familiar New Yorker who had spent years cultivating relationships with members of the media and used those relationships.

And now we know Hillary Clinton wanted Trump all along. Based now on interviews and Wikileaks documents, we know that the Clinton campaign engaged in a concerted effort to help shape a media narrative favorable toward Trump.

The media will rebut these claims with highlights of their general election footage wherein they brought to light all the Trump nonsense that destroyed his campaign. But they can show few examples in the primaries when Trump was treated as a ratings bonanza so long as he was not attacked.

Media ratings mattered in the rise of Trump. Trump’s voters, so convinced the establishment was going to pick a Jeb Bush or another Mitt Romney, let the media guide them toward Trump. In the end, it is the Trump voters who chose him and gave us a Clinton victory. But I have a hard time believing many of these voters would have stuck with Trump had the media treated Trump the way they treated any of the other Republican Presidential candidates.

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Erick Erickson

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