Bad for free speech, good for business: Trump's symbiotic relationship with the press

Kim Glovas
November 17, 2018 - 4:30 am

Al Drago | Pool/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — President Donald Trump makes headlines every time he insults a member of the media. 

While he continues his attacks on the media, a local historian and academic says the relationship between the presidency and the Fourth Estate has always been a testy one. 

The latest attack on Jim Acosta of CNN has many people fearing for the free speech provisions of the First Amendment. 

RELATED: White House must return CNN's Jim Acosta's credential

Jason Steinhauer, director of the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University, said despite the hostility between Trump and the media, it's a symbiotic relationship. 

"They get a tremendous amount of engagement and readership, clicks and views, so it's a weird dynamic where on one hand they have this antagonistic relationship, but on the other hand I think they both kind of need each other," he noted.

Steinhauer added that both The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major papers have seen increased activity whenever the president says something outrageous.

The president, who Steinhauer described as a "polarizing figure," also benefits because he needs the media to spread his words — good or evil — to his faithful or his detractors.