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Our opinion: Blame Trump, not the media, for Trump's woes

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer doesn't need hearings to learn why Donald Trump has fared poorly in media accounts. A glance at the Herald's Sunday editorial page will tell him all he needs to know.

On that day, the Herald recapped the endorsements of Forum Communications, the Herald's parent company. And in the category of "U.S. president," readers found the words, "No endorsement."

There's your answer, Congressman.

Donald Trump lost Forum Communications. And that's not something he or anyone else can blame on CNN.

Cramer should consider that fact, look hard at the political reality that's staring him in the face, and forget about calling "media bias" hearings.

Trump is the author of his own political fate, just as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and other Republican candidates were the authors of theirs. And yes, there's a difference this year, as shown in microcosm by Forum Communications' decision.

But the difference is not media bias. The difference is Trump.

Trump just makes himself very hard to like as a presidential candidate. Importantly, Hillary Clinton has the same problem, even with the advantage of presumed media bias in her favor.

Somehow, America's major parties gave us two alarmingly flawed candidates this year. But when the time comes to look at the reasons, no one's going to start with broadcast news.

Here's why Forum Communications' non-endorsement is so meaningful:

It's because the company has favored Republican presidential candidates so consistently. The company's leaders clearly lean Republican when it comes to the presidency, look for reasons to endorse Republicans—and failed to find enough reasons with Trump.

That matters. After all, The Forum in Fargo-Moorhead endorsed Richard Nixon not once or twice, but three times—in 1960, 1968 and 1972.

Forum endorsed Gerald Ford, even in the wake of the Watergate scandal that helped Jimmy Carter win. Forum endorsed every Republican presidential candidate since then, too.

But not Trump. Why?

The company's non-endorsement says it plain. It's because of "the havoc he (Trump) has done to the Republican Party, which, because of his vile personal behavior, unvarnished misogyny and his trashing of prominent GOP leaders, has set back the party for a generation."

Remember, that's not the view of a team that just watches Good Morning America. It's the considered opinion of Republican-leaning professionals who devour media from all sources seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America," President Lyndon Johnson reportedly said about the famous broadcaster. Trump lost Forum Communications—and the Manchester (N.H.) Union-Leader, the Arizona Republic and other famously Republican-leaning editorial boards.

Those boards—professional journalists all—were primed to see through media bias. They did so in this case, and they went about their analysis with a long record of favoring Republicans. But they still didn't like what they saw.

-- Tom Dennis for the Herald

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