Touting Donald Trump as a “rock star,” and genuflecting at the altar of his “greatest show yet,” the media showered the president with unnecessary attention all last week in honor of his re-election rally kickoff in Orlando, Florida. The coverage, which was so reminiscent of 2016, raises fresh concerns about whether the news media learned anything from previous campaign about covering a whiny bully like Trump. Will journalists still view him through the lens of celebrity and hold him to almost no substantive standards, while echoing his lies and bogus attacks on Democrats? Coming off monumental failures in 2016, the press seems poised to stumble through another campaign to failure. Especially since, following the 2016 debacle, most in the press refused to concede that mistakes had been made, let alone offer up much serious self-reflection.
It's likely the White House loved how rally week played out, with an avalanche of coverage that mostly just regurgitated Trump's stale, familiar rally speech, which leans heavily on victimhood. One of the media themes regarding Trump's event was that, with his endless attacks on Hillary Clinton, he's stuck in the past. But the same point can be made about the press, which seems determined to hit rewind for 2020. And that means a return of the circus-like, spectacle-type campaign coverage Trump loves.