Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -

es­teem. And the re­cent de­cline in ap­proval is due en­tirely to Trump’s daily bash­ing.

A Gallup poll in Septem­ber found a his­toric low for trust in the mass me­dia: just 32 per­cent, down eight points from 2015. But Gallup spec­u­lated that this was a “result of Trump’s sharp crit­i­cisms of the press,” not­ing that trust of the press among Repub­li­cans dropped to 18 points in a year.

Was the press re­ally hard on Trump? Thirty-nine per­cent of vot­ers think so, ac­cord­ing to a Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll this week. But looking at it an­other way, 59 per­cent thought the press was ei­ther too easy on Trump (27 per­cent) or fair (32 per­cent).

There is much the press should do dif­fer­ently: Ditch the horse-race cov­er­age, the dis­cred­ited data jour­nal­ism and the ten­dency among news re­porters to ex­press their opin­ions in so­cial me­dia.

But for those who think the me­dia could gain pub­lic sup­port if we stop has­sling Trump about his con­flicts of in­ter­est, the rise of white su­prem­a­cists along­side him, the Trump Foun­da­tion’s self-deal­ing and the $25 mil­lion Trump Univer­sity le­gal set­tle­ment — too bad. We’re not here to be pop­u­lar.

Dana Milbank is a syn­di­cated colum­nist. Contact him at danamil­bank@wash­

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