Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times yesterday posited:
As evidence, he cited the CNN chyron that fact-checked a Trump claim. He also said the media in general has been “more combative, less restrained,” and deployed “more specific questioning, more astonished, in-line fact-checking.” That kind of in-line fact-checking can be seen in the Times’s coverage of Trump’s rally in San Jose last night, where false claims (e.g., he opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2002) are immediately countered by the facts.
As I noted in the CNN chyron story, the shift is partly an adaptation by impartial media outlets to a uniquely mendacious candidate. But the change in context also matters. There was plenty of combative reporting about Trump during the primary, reporting that would have sunk pretty much any other candidate. None of it had any effect, because a plurality of Republican voters had decided that this pure embodiment of white resentment was their guy. That all changes as we head into the general election, where voters may actually care about Trump’s positions on a host of issues.
Hillary Clinton received a lot of coverage yesterday for a bare-knuckled speech that clearly spun Trump around a bit. But so did Mitt Romney back in March for a very similar speech. The difference was that Romney’s speech fell on deaf ears.