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Watergate editor explains how Reagan taught Trump to manipulate media coverage

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President Donald Trump generates tremendous media coverage, which is exactly what he’s always wanted, but the Watergate editor says it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, things didn’t used to be that way.

Barry Sussman, who guided Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 as the Washington Post‘s city editor, explained the media allows Trump and his surrogates to set the agenda with false and disingenuous arguments in an interview with The New Republic.

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“They follow him wherever he goes,” Sussman said. “He leads the press around by the nose. That was even true on the Russia investigation. How many weeks did we go, months, where there were front-page stories questioning whether Trump would even testify? Imbeciles like Giuliani were getting press attention as though they had something to say, when all they were doing was trying to stretch things out and humiliate the press. That’s my main difficulty, not only with the Russia investigation but with everything else.”

The veteran newsman said that sort of wall-to-wall coverage of presidents is historically unusual.

“The press didn’t even cover the presidents every single day until Reagan,” Sussman said. “You may remember this. It was Reagan’s sharp advisers who decided to make him the center of attention and pretty much get stories day by day, every day. Before then, there was not even daily coverage of presidents. I think that we might keep that in mind as Trump is covered.”

Sussman explained how press coverage in the Trump era could be better, and focus on more important issues than his daily scandals and distractions.

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“The way Trump is covered now is that he is covered first,” he said. “If there’s any room for anything, or anybody else, or anything else, it will follow, if there’s room. I think that we have such a great list of real problems that need to be dealt with, that are newsworthy and important, starting of course with climate change, but the list is a very, very strong list. Even some Trump issues make the list, like immigration.”

“My solution to this is that the press, especially the elite press that already has beats on all the important subjects, it should pay attention to what’s going on,” Sussman added. “It should write about them as needed, and when there’s room left over, they give us Trump. Turn things around on their face.”

Pulling back on Trump coverage would highlight the other important reporting that’s already going on, he said.

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“If there were less coverage, could Trump set the agenda to a lesser degree?” Sussman said. “If he were not allowed to set the agenda, the investigative coverage would stand out more, because there would be less of the foolish coverage, the unnecessary, foolish coverage.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Rev. Barber uses Bible to school Trump over crazed ‘Chosen One’ rant: ‘Quit your wicked life’

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The Rev. William Barber on Thursday schooled President Donald Trump for declaring himself the "Chosen One," while also approvingly quoting a talk-show host who described him as the "Second Coming of God."

In response to a tweet from "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough that highlighted the president's messianic quotes, Barber quoted from the fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel, which describes the ruin of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, a prideful ruler who bragged about the great city he had built.

"King Nebuchadnezzar... boasted, 'Look at this, Babylon the great! And I built it all by myself... to display my honor and glory!'" Barber wrote. "The words were no sooner out of his mouth than a voice out of heaven spoke, 'This is the verdict... your kingdom is taken from you.'"

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2020 Election

‘Unhinged, erratic and nuts’: Conservative warns Trump’s ‘chosen one’ outburst should set off alarms

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In her column for the Washington Post, conservative never-Trumper Jennifer Rubin implored Republicans to look deep down inside themselves and stop defending Donald Trump after the president bizarrely declared himself the "chosen one" while speaking to the press on Wednesday.

Under a headline, "Trump’s unhinged display should frighten everyone,"Rubin ticked off comments made by the president in the past week since he returned from vacation including expressing a desire to buy Greenland, proposing -- then backing off -- new tax policies and calling Jews "disloyal" and wondered what it will take for people to see that the president is "nuts."

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Trump press secretary’s scandal-plagued career includes DUIs, cheating, and a hideous comment about a botched execution

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Stephanie Grisham, who replaced Sarah Huckabee Sanders as President Donald Trump's press secretary, has led a scandal-plagued career that has been dogged by accusations of plagiarism and cheating on expense reports, as well as two arrests for driving while under the influence.

The New York Times reports that Grisham's resume is one that "contains red flags that most administrations might deem troubling," and the paper then goes on to document Grisham's multiple alleged ethical missteps that have so far cost her two different jobs.

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