We saw throughout Donald Trump’s two presidential campaigns and four years in the White House a symbiotic relationship between mainstream media outlets and Republicans, in which both made Trump out to bea far more normal politician than he was.
On the one hand, there was Republican denial (Didn’t see the crazy tweet! I’m sure he’s learned his lesson!). On the other, there was the media’s determination to avoid claims of bias and maintain a false balance — which often resulted in their obscuring how loony he sounded. The result: a never-ending Trumpian stream of threats (both policy-related and more personal), absurd conspiracy-mongering, and lies that were never regarded as disqualifying.
Apparently, neither the media nor supposedly sober Republicans have learned anything from the past. Trump gave a bonkers speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, musing about Russia blowing up NATO headquarters, claiming President Biden had taken the border wall and “put it in a hiding area,” and telling the crowd, “I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.”
We do not get headlines acknowledging this is unhinged. Instead, we get from the New York Times: “Trump Says He Would Stay in 2024 Race if Indicted.” And a similar angle from CNN. ABC started its website report this way: “Former President Donald Trump continues to reign supreme over the conservative wing of the Republican Party.” From The Washington Post: “Trump takes victory lap at conservative conference.”