NBC's Chuck Todd said that he thought President Trump was attacking the press in order to distract from accusations into the administration's involvement with Russia. He made the comments on Channel 4 News with Matt Frei Saturday.
"Whenever there is a troubling update, troubling news story on Russia," Todd said, "and the allegations of their interference in the election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign, when a story hits, within 24 to 36 hours, the escalation of media attacks goes up."
"And this is just the latest," Todd added, "this came literally 24 hours after news surfaced."
"So it's a distraction?" Frei asked.
"That's right, 24 hours, Matt, after news surfaced that the White House chief of staff may have had improper contact with the FBI about the investigation. It's not just the media, it's not the only, any institution that he believes, that they believe, is getting in the way of their agenda they're going after."
So in this case the media, Russia, Russia's a distraction that keeps them from doing their agenda. But look at just this morning we have news that the potential travel ban may reinstate in the seven countries that he identified, our department of Homeland Security, their intelligence agencies said you cannot identify a threat, a potential terrorist threat, based on anything from these seven countries.
"So they sort of poo-pooed the sense of urgency on it," Todd concluded. "And the president essentially said 'bad intelligence, I'm dismissing it.'"
"Does Trump have a point in the sense that he is getting a less fair shake than Obama did," Frei challenged Todd, "that the press is just far more critical of him than of his predecessor?"
Todd offered a list of the ways the Trump administration stumbled, saying that their failings caused the rancor.
"I still think that a lot of this has to do with the initial way that the president took office," Todd said. "Here you get elected in a very divisive election where you have a split decision, if you will, the popular vote went one way, but the electoral college went the other, and he never acknowledged that."
He's instead challenged the idea that he's somehow got, that a majority of the country did not vote for him. And I think that lack of outreach has only stoked the fires a little bit.
So, it's just created this hyper-combative atmosphere. And so is the press negative to be negative's sake? Or is the White House bringing on this negative? It's a chicken and egg. The relationship's in a very, very bad place, let's just put it that way.
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) February 25, 2017
The media has been in a rhetorical war with Donald Trump since he announced his presidency, and it has only worsened after the election and inauguration. Trump and his allies have targeted CNN News after their reporting on supposed intelligence damaging to the president and obtained by the Russians. The leaks to the media around the issue led to the resignation of Mike Flynn as national security advisor, and turned Trump against U.S. intelligence agencies.
Last week Trump called the press "the enemy of the American people," prompting many of his critics to worry about his authoritarian tendencies, while thrilling his supporters that are suspicious of the media.