Why does the media hate Donald Trump so much? There are all kinds of theories, but only one really makes sense: We are a country at odds over the most fundamental principles of ideology, economics, religion, race, culture, morality – even our own history. The media is on one side of that metaphorical war, and President Trump calls it out.

In this dispute the two sides have always been known to the participants, but the media doesn’t identify them publicly. A major part of the mainstream media’s strategy has been to preserve the perception of its neutrality and keep its role as hidden as possible. It has been criticized in the past for its liberal bias – by conservatives. But never by a sitting president with such effectiveness. (Richard Nixon mostly delegated the job to Vice President Spiro Agnew.) By treating the media for what it is – a belligerent in the culture war – Mr. Trump has done it irreparable damage.

The media is supposed to be a neutral participant. So, to a lesser extent, are Hollywood and academia. Hollywood’s job is to entertain us. The universities’ job is to educate us. The media’s job is to report the news to us. If there is indeed some kind of philosophical, theological and economic battle being waged for the soul of the country, Americans would certainly want to know if those responsible for filtering information to us are doing so in an objective fashion.

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If people knew for a fact that the media were taking sides, the jig would be up. The media would lose much of its ability to influence the outcome. This is what lies behind the media’s fear and loathing of the president. It wants desperately to advance an agenda, but knows that to do so effectively it needs to be perceived as impartial. In other words, the media cares nothing about reality—only the perception of reality.

Though the president has repeatedly condemned white supremacy, reporters keep asking if he is willing to do so. Though the Supreme Court confirmed his travel ban wasn’t based on religion, many still refer to it as a “Muslim ban.” And who could forget the evidence-free claims, repeated for more than two years, that the president was colluding with Vladimir Putin, or was himself a Russian agent? For four years, Mr. Trump has shined a piercing light on the media’s bias. He has blown the lid completely off its cover. And despite relentless attempts to discredit and destroy him in response, he has survived and even gained momentum.

In a real sense, the president has defeated the media. No matter what the outcome of this election, the media will never again be able to convince the public that it is objective. Everyone – not only conservatives – now knows where it stands.

That is the real reason the media hates Trump with a blazing, white-hot intensity.

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