President Donald Trump and
Ben Stein. (AP photos)
During an interview on CNN about President Donald Trump’s decision to not attend the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) dinner, writer, producer, and speechwriter Ben Stein said he is not surprised because the media treat Trump like a “punching bag day after day,” and CNN and the New York Times are “slamming him” daily, always “negative,” constantly searching for “a scandal.”
On the Feb. 25 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Brianna Keilar explained that Ronald Reagan was the last president to not attend one of the WHCA events – because he had been shot in an assassination attempt – and asked Stein about President Trump’s decision not to attend.
“I'm not surprised and I'm not disappointed,” said Stein. “I don't blame Mr. Trump one bit for doing it. I mean, he's a punching bag day after day after day in the media, especially what's called the mainstream media. And I don't blame him for not wanting to go and be a punching bag in person.”
When asked about Trump’s remarks that the media are the enemy of the people and they concoct “fake news,” Stein said, “Well, I wouldn't say that all of the media is the enemy of the people. Look, every day you pick up The New York Times, every day they're slamming, slamming, slamming him.”
“I'm a great fan of CNN, I watch it quite faithfully,” he continued. “Every day CNN is slamming him, slamming him, slamming him. Every day, they're looking for a scandal.”
“They're just turning the woods upside down looking for a scandal,” said Stein. “They're hoping, I think, to do to him what they did to Nixon a long time ago. And, you know, still haven't found any real scandals.”
“And with all due respect, I don't blame him for being furious at them,” said Stein. “And I think he's got a lot of company.
Stein further said, “I'm out there giving speeches all around the country all the time, people -- an awful lot of people are not great fans of the media, and they see the media as an unelected aristocracy, an effete corps of impudent snobs, as Vice President Agnew called them a long time ago, who are dumping all over the mainstream of America. And I think Mr. Trump has a lot of company.”
Stein agreed that some of the damage with Trump and the media is self-inflicted. “Mr. Trump is not the smoothest operator -- I mean, he's not Bob Hope,” said Stein.
“But I think this general idea that the press can just hack and hack and hack away at the president, that he is expected to sit there and take it, is not a sound idea,” he said. “And I noticed day after day, week after week, everything is negative. Not one positive response.”