Media sharpen Trump coverage after candidate calls for Muslim ban – Los Angeles Times

The media are taking a tougher stance against Republican front-runner Donald Trump after his campaign promise to keep Muslims out of the country as a means to stop the terrorist threat of ISIS.

Trump’s high poll numbers have survived the fire he has drawn for making inappropriate statements on Mexican immigrants, questioning the heroism of Sen. John McCain as a prisoner of war, and suggesting that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was menstruating when she asked him tough questions at the first Republican primary debate.

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But the candidate’s recent remarks about Muslims in the aftermath of the shooting rampage in San Bernardino and its ties to terrorism by extremists have hit a new level of outrage — with conservative leaders and opinion makers associating Trump’s views with fascism.

That, in turn, has put more pressure on the media to hold Trump to account for his remarks.

Typically, the billionaire TV personality is able to bluster his way through morning talk shows. But Trump had an unusually contentious appearance Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski grilled him on his proposals to keep Muslims out of the U.S. At one point during the 45-minute exchange, Scarborough even went to a commercial break as Trump was speaking.

“It certainly puts the burden on the people conducting the interviews to be tougher the more controversial his comments are,” Scarborough told The Times after the exchange. “When you have [chief foreign correspondent for NBC News] Richard Engel saying Trump’s comments hurt America’s standing overseas and compromises our fight against ISIS according to the military [intelligence] officials he’s spoken with, the burden does go up.”

Trump’s appearance with Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day” was also far more heated than past appearances on the program in which the real estate mogul frequently calls in.

David Westin, former chairman of ABC News who is now a morning anchor for Bloomberg Television, believes viewers may be seeing a shift in which TV journalism will focus more on Trump’s policies than his personality.


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