Trump gets media, Clinton to play his tune
© Greg Nash

If the media was a grand piano, Donald Trump is playing them to hit every key he wants them to this week.

Think about what the Democratic National Convention has been about thus far: Wikileaks. Email. Russia. Trump. And not in that order. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE — who should be the biggest narrative given the historic context of her becoming the first female nominee for president — is somehow a distant 5th, and when her name does come up, it's in response to emails, Trump, Russia or Wikileaks.

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And it's not only the media falling for Trump's baiting around Russia "finding" Clinton's 33,000 deleted-after-being-subpoenaed emails, it's Clinton's communications team itself. On Wednesday, the campaign released this statement — which only served to give the story more legs in having it discussed endlessly on cable news and on social media:

"This has to be the first time a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to commit espionage against his political opponent. That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to a national security issue."

So given statements like this, is Trump damaging himself when he asks, "Russia or China or anybody who has" the 33,000 emails in question to turn them over to the FBI? Perhaps.

But now, the one narrative Hillary Clinton does not want to touch with a 33,000-foot pole, the email scandal that led to a heavy rebuke by FBI Director Comey and a guilty verdict in the court of public opinion, is front and center during her own coronation. And so is her ability — or lack thereof — to be honest with the American people.

Trump has his share of negatives to be sure. But Clinton has two that completely underscore why she's in a dogfight with, and even trailing, a Republican nominee that doesn't have the backing of prominent members of his own party:

1) CNN poll this week: 68 percent of Americans see her as not honest and untrustworthy. That's up from 59 percent since May. The main reason she somehow jumped even higher that quickly? Her handling of State Department emails, her explanations around her actions and the aforementioned rebuke by the FBI.

2) CBS poll this week: 31 percent of Americans — less than one-third — have a favorable view of the Democratic nominee.

Both of these numbers are worse than Trump's.

So how does the Republican nominee win in November?

He brings this fight down into the mud.

George Bernard Shaw once said, "I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

The media is getting played right now.

Trump is inelegant. He's unfiltered. Many would say reckless.

But he understands the mood of the country. He also knows how to draw the spotlight to himself whenever he likes, even during what should be a shining moment for his opponent.

Russia. Emails. Wikileaks. Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton.

That's your media narrative this week at the DNC.

So stop and think: Who do you think is benefitting if that's the storyline?

Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.


The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.