Press: Baby Donald throws a temper tantrum

All of us who have kids know what it’s like when a 2-year old throws a temper tantrum. He doesn’t like what you give him to eat, he throws his food on the floor. He doesn’t want to leave the house, he sits down on the ground and refuses to move. He’s not ready to go to bed, he screams until you give in and turn the television on.

We expect temper tantrums from 2-year olds. We just don’t expect them from the president of the United States. Unless that president’s named Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE, in which case we expect two or three a day, each more childish than the last. But the most childish of all was Trump’s edict to cancel his subscription to The New York Times and The Washington Post and force all federal agencies to do the same thing.

The only surprise is that Baby Donald didn’t do it sooner. He’s spent the last four years attacking the media as “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people,” directing most of his vitriol against The Washington Post and it’s “nasty lightweight reporters” and, his favorite target, the “failing New York Times.”

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Ironically, Trump’s war against the Times and Post has only made the nation’s two best papers all the stronger. The Post, with a record 1.5 million digital subscribers, has turned a profit for the last four years. The Times ended 2018 with 3.4 million digital subscriptions and 4.3 million total subscriptions and its stock is now trading at its highest level since September 2005. At the same time, both newspapers keep racking up Pulitzer Prizes for the best political and White House reporting since Watergate — partly because Trump gives them so much juicy material. 

Trump’s nonstop tweets against the Post and Times haven’t hurt them, and neither will his silly cancellations of subscriptions. It won’t save taxpayer dollars, either, despite phantom White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamLive coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' Vindman clashes with GOP MORE’s claim: “Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving for taxpayers.” Baloney. Obviously, neither she nor Trump realize that most people today read newspapers online and that the Post offers a free digital subscription to anyone with a valid education, military or government ID. Besides, if Trump really wants to save money, canceling just one $3 million visit to Mar-a-Lago would more than cover the cost of subscriptions to the Post and Times for all federal agencies.

What makes this an especially childish exercise, of course, is the fact that canceling the subscription to any newspaper, or refusing to watch CNN, doesn’t mean the news will stop. Whether their print edition lands on Trump’s front porch every day or not, the situation in the Middle East will continue to deteriorate, the Ukraine scandal will continue to unravel, the impeachment inquiry will continue to roll on, and The New York Times and Washington Post will continue to report the truth. Somebody should tell Baby Donald: not reading about bad news doesn’t make it go away.

We’ve seen this movie before. In 1962, in a similar fit of pique, President John F. Kennedy canceled his subscription to the New York Herald Tribune. But he still couldn’t stop reading it. Staffers smuggled a “bootleg” copy into the White House every day, until JFK finally gave in and renewed his subscription. 

The same thing will happen today. Subscription or not, Donald Trump will continue to read the Washington Post and the New York Times — just so he can continue attacking them.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”