Though Donald Trump’s disdain for the media has been well documented over the years, his assaults on mainstream outlets significantly increased during the 2016 presidential race. To many of us, these relentless attacks were a transparent ploy to protect his own ego, as it was clear Trump was only disparaging outlets that reported unfavorable stories about him. It’s a petty reaction, no doubt, but one that is also extremely dangerous—especially in light of recent statements by veteran journalist Lesley Stahl.
During the annual Deadline Club Awards Dinner in New York City on Monday, Stahl spoke about securing the first post-election interview with Trump. Stahl said that prior to their sit-down for 60 Minutes, she met with the then-president-elect at Trump Tower. During the meeting, Trump began ranting about the free press, so much so that Stahl had to ask where all the animosity came from.
“It’s just me and my boss and him—he has a huge office—and he’s attacking the press. And there were no cameras, there was nothing going on,” Stahl told journalist Judy Woodruff (21:20). “And I said, ‘You know that is getting tired, why are you doing this? You are doing it over and over, it’s boring, it’s time to end that. You won the nomination. Why do you keep hammering at this?’ And he said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.’ He said that. So put that in your head for a minute.”
You can watch Stahl’s comments in the video above.
For those who are skeptical of Stahl’s claims, here’s a tweet sent from Trump’s personal Twitter account. Once again, he blasts the media for reporting unfavorable news about him and his administration, suggesting any “negative” coverage should be considered “fake.”
Stahl's claims don't seem too far-fetched, do they?