Let he who is without sin . . . throw the first punch? Today's With All Due Respect rapped the MSM for its extensive coverage of Donald Trump having said of an unruly protester "[I'd] like to punch him in the face." Lamented John Heilemann: "cable news is so often so crazily dumb."
Just one problem. Before Heilemann and Halperin bemoaned the MSM's excessive coverage of the line . . . they opened the show by playing in its entirety the clip of Trump's pugilistic proclivity! Hypocrisy, anyone? Their point was that the media's fascination with Trump's antics makes it hard for the other candidates to get their messages out. Fair enough. But they could have done so by briefly describing the "punch" remark. By playing it in full, WADR fell prey to the same temptation they were condemning in others.
MARK HALPERIN: Today Marco Rubio the man many in the GOP establishment consider the only hope of stopping Trump used one of his last Silver State events to tell voters they are running out of time and that, quote, we cannot nominate someone who cannot win if because can't unite us. Despite Rubio's urgency and the urgency of many in the party, today's news cycle suggests that Rubio's pitch might be too little too late. Why? Because of this Trumpian remark that Mr. Trump made at a rally I attended here in Las Vegas last night. Listen to what he said, and then I'll explain.
DONALD TRUMP: Here's a guy, throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming and everything else when we're talking, and then walking out, and we're not allowed, you know, the guards are very gentle with him. He's walking out, like big high fives, smiling, laughing. Like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.
HALPERIN: All right, so I've been to a lot of Donald Trump rallies and for The Donald that crack would not even crack the list of the top 10 of newsworthy or controversial things I've heard him say at his rallies. And yet, look at how much that one remark dominated the news cycle into today.
Cut to montage of various news sources reporting Trump remark.
HALPERIN: Wall-to-wall coverage for what Trump said. In comparison, news coverage for the other remaining Republican candidates was in fact pretty meager. Ted Cruz's getting some coverage for being marred with the aftermath of firing his national spokesman. Marco Rubio got some coverage for his his second- and third-tier endorsements that he's getting, but also coverage for struggling to convince people there's any state he can win in the coming weeks. And the only headline John Kasich got yesterday came from comments he made about women leaving their kitchens to vote for him years ago, for which he got mostly unfair coverage. So John: are the candidates not trying to fight Trump in the news cycle? Or is it just impossible to trump Trump, given his dominance of the news media?
JOHN HEILEMANN: Well, Mark, first of all, you can't resist a man who's about to give someone else a punch in the lunch. And second of all, cable news is just so often so crazily dumb. I mean, if you think about the things that Donald Trump has said that are genuine provocations. And I'm not talking about things he's said in rallies. I'm talking about wanting to ban Muslims, and some of the things he has said about immigrants. These are things that got a lot of attention deservedly. Donald Trump saying in a kind of flip way I'd like to punch that guy? Man, if that is going to dominate news, there is nothing, nothing that those other guys could do that is ever going to break through. Because, it's just, the news cycle is just too much Donald Trump's plaything.