Even Chris Cillizza is starting to catch on.
It's no secret that Stephen K. Bannon, the past chairman of Breitbart News and now a senior strategist to the president, is behind much of Trump's anti-media rhetoric. The idea of the media as the “opposition party” or the “enemy" — two phrases Trump has used of late to describe those who cover him — is pure Bannon.
So, there was no reason to think that Bannon was going to be anything but confrontational with the media during a joint appearance with Trump White House chief of staff Reince Priebus at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday afternoon.
But, even by Bannon's standards, he seemed to ramp up his attacks on the media and offer a very clear message to political journalists: You think this is bad? Just wait.
“It's going to get worse every day for the media,” Bannon said, insisting that the “corporatist” media would continue to see Trump pursue exactly the sort of economic nationalism that journalism allegedly despises. Then he added this call to arms: “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”
The message from Bannon was unmistakable: The enemy of Donald Trump and those who think like him is not, really, Democrats but, in actuality, the media. And the only way to combat the media is to fight like hell against them on everything and anything.
As I've noted before, presidents (and their staffs) always have an adversarial relationship with the press. The administration insists the press isn't telling the story of the White House right. The press complains about a lack of access to the key players in the White House. It's been that way for as long as I can remember.
But what Bannon and, by extension, Trump are up to is something very different than simply an adversarial working relationship with the media. Bannon doesn't want to change the media. He wants to totally dismantle the media. He wants to break its back and leave it for dead by the side of the road. And he's not afraid of telling the media to their faces about that plan.
Why yes Chris, he does want to exterminate you.
Maybe you should start treating him like that's his plan before he starts rounding up journalists like yourself as enemies of the state for publishing leaks.
Just an idea. Anyway, today the Trump regime started to make good on its threats.
The White House blocked a number of news outlets from covering spokesman Sean Spicer’s question-and-answer session on Friday afternoon.
Spicer decided to hold an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were news organizations President Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN.
The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.
Journalists from several right-leaning outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network.
A number of major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters, Bloomberg and McClatchy.
By the way, the news outlets excluded? All have broken at least one major story on Trump and Russia over the last five weeks. And as Bannon said yesterday, it will only get worse for the media from here.
Your move, media.