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Hemingway: Trump-Obsessed Media Incentivize Political Insults

By giving Donald Trump’s taunts so much coverage, the media have given other politicians shut out of valuable air time little reason to avoid insults.


On Sunday, The Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway joined Brian Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” to talk about how the media should reflect on what they’re incentivizing in the political process. In a discussion with Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker and Poynter Institute’s Jim Warren, Hemingway said:

“The media aren’t responsible for Donald Trump, but they are definitely responsible for enabling him. And they are also responsible for the fact that if you’re a Republican candidate, you have to taunt and mock your opponent to even have a chance of getting media coverage.”

Later, Hemingway said that while it’s good the media are upset about Trump’s threats to expand libel laws if he’s elected president so he can more easily sue newspapers, they should also be upset about other candidates’ statements about First Amendment protections.

“The same media complaining about what Trump said don’t care when Democratic candidates openly state that they’re opposed to Citizens United, which is also a Supreme Court decision that protects the First Amendment that allows people to criticize candidates,” she said. “I don’t know if people remember. Citizens United was about a non-profit group trying to criticize Hillary Clinton, and the Supreme Court said that they could do that under free speech and free press rules. So we don’t see the same level of angst about other candidates speaking against the First Amendment or the current administration, which hasn’t been so friendly to press freedoms and has punished people they think are not covering them fairly. Or also opposing other parts of the First Amendment, such as religious freedom protections.”