Media critic Michael Wolff of The Hollywood Reporter and Newsweek appeared on CNN’s Sunday morning show “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter to tell journalists that too many of them are having a “nervous breakdown” covering President Donald Trump.
Wolff said the media is further damaging its credibility by going into a “fit of apoplexy” after every move the Trump administration makes.
“As we try to go after his credibility, our credibility becomes equally a problem. I think individual journalists are, in many cases, having a nervous breakdown,” Wolff said.
He said journalists are falling into a trap covering Trump because of the most unusual situation: what seems like debunking Trump turns out to be supporting him. He said constantly fact-checking Trump’s misstatements helps him because he’s always seeking an overreaction.
Wolff didn’t spare the host of the show from his blunt critique. In a Newsweek column last week titled “Why the Media Keeps Losing to Donald Trump,” Wolff directly went after Stelter’s on-air style, writing that Stelter “turns to the camera every Sunday morning and delivers a pious sermon about Trump’s perfidiousness.”
“Do you feel that my style is wrong, or my substance is wrong, trying to fact-check the president?” Stelter asked Sunday.
Wolff replied that Stelter can border “on being, sort of, quite a ridiculous figure.”
“It’s not a good look to repeatedly and self-righteously defend your own self interests,” he added.
Still, Wolff acknowledged it’s impossible not to cover every decision and move of the new administration. He described the modern era “as unusual” and a “great story,” and called it a “golden media age” for journalists covering Trump.
“We spend time on this story because it’s so interesting,” Wolff said. “Everybody else, however, is saying, ‘We spend time on this story because it’s so appalling.'”