[W]hile voicing your disdain for the press is a tried-and-true strategy for sitting presidents, it can throw politicians seeking the Oval Office off course and off message, making them appear naval-gazing and defensive.
This is not to say a liberal bias does not exist in the news media. One recent study found that, since 2004, far more employees at newspapers and in print media donated to liberal candidates than to conservative candidates. And public perception and trust in the media remains bleak. A 2013 Gallup poll found that 44 percent of people surveyed have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust and confidence in the mass media. A whopping 74 percent of Republicans think the news media are too liberal, compared with 46 percent of all respondents.
The damn-the-media strategy has been called “working the refs,” or deliberately antagonizing the press in the hopes that they will go easier on you, and if that fails, setting up a reliable group to point your finger at. It can be an effective strategy, especially for Republicans during a primary campaign. But it’s one that only works for so long. Blame the media once or twice and you’re a righteous crusader. More than that, and you start looking like the Boy Who Cried Media.