Ben Shapiro: President Trump Has Defeated The Media | Opinion

This week, comedian Jon Stewart sat down with CNN International host Christiane Amanpour. Stewart, who is certainly no fan of President Trump's, launched into the media, explaining precisely how Trump was defeating them, and soundly:

"I think journalists have taken it personally. They are personally wounded and offended by this man. He baits them, and they dive in. And what he's done well, I thought, is appeal to their own narcissism, to their own ego, because…they say, 'We are noble, we are honorable, how dare you, sir.' And they take it personally….he's able to tune out everything else and get people just focused on the fight, and he's going to win that fight."

This is about as good an explanation for why the media are in the midst of a credibility crisis as anyone has yet articulated. And now we have the data to back it up.

According to a poll from Politico/Morning Consult, 56 percent of Americans say that President Trump has done more to divide the country than unite it, compared with 30 percent who say the opposite. But here's the terrible news for the media: 64 percent of Americans say the media have done more to divide the country than unite it, while only 17 percent believe the opposite. That means that nearly twice as many Americans believe Trump is unifying as believe that the media are.

Trump, in other words, is winning his battle against the media.

Just as Stewart points out, the media have invested their credibility in battling Trump, rather than standing for the truth. All too often, we've seen members of the media engaged in personality-driven fisticuffs with the president. That fight always redounds to Trump's benefit. Why?

There's an old joke about two men being chased by a bear. One stops to put on his running shoes.

"What are you doing?" the second man exclaims. "We'll never be able to outrun the bear!"

"I don't have to outrun the bear," the first man replies. "I just have to outrun you."

The bear, in this case, is credibility. Trump doesn't have to outrun credibility—all he has to do is challenge the media's credibility effectively. By doing so, he wins. It's that simple.

And in this battle, Trump is at a decided advantage. Nobody expects politicians to tell the truth. We all expect politicians to be partisan, to shade the truth, to lie on a not infrequent basis.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up his fist as he boards Air Force One after speaking during a campaign rally at Columbia Regional Airport in Columbia, Missouri, November 1, 2018. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The media, by contrast, are expected to hew to a facts-first approach. The so-called objective media claim that they are objective; they set the standard themselves. Partisanship, by their own standard, is forbidden.

This means that in order for the media to destroy Trump's credibility, they must not only debunk his fibs, they must undermine his central political contentions. For Trump to destroy the media's credibility, all he has to do is trigger them into revealing their partisan hackery. Trump has been far more successful at the latter than the media have been at the former.

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Americans aren't wrong about the media's role in polarizing the debate. By exposing their bias—by deploying open and obvious political activists like CNN's Jim Acosta to the White House to grandstand for publicity, all the while maintaining Acosta's supposed objectivity—the media play right into Trump's hands. All Trump had to do to win was drag the media into the kiddie pool. As it turns out, he didn't even had to drag them in: they were ready to jump in with both feet.

Which means that President Trump has defeated the media. And he will continue to defeat the media so long as they self-righteously draw political conclusions rather than reporting objective facts; so long as they are so offended by Trump that they neglect their own job description.

As it turns out, the media are far more interested in talking about themselves than in covering the news. Self-absorption doesn't destroy politicians. It does destroy media credibility. And Trump has ratcheted up media self-absorption to extraordinary levels.

Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, available on iTunes and syndicated across America.​

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​