Will Media Make The Same Mistake With Trump as They Did With Reagan?

On this week’s “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace posed the possibility that the media might be falling into the same trap they did in 1981. Wallace said:

“There was an underestimating of Reagan, as a person and a leader, and I wonder if the same isn’t true of Donald Trump.”

He reminded his guests that when President Ronald Reagan came to Washington, Democrat administration insider Clark Clifford quickly dismissed him. Clifford called Reagan an “amiable dunce.”

The media has referred to President-elect Trump as a “reality TV star.”

Wallace’s Christmas parties have been filled with Trump skeptics who are estimating his presidency will be a total disaster. Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, has had similar experiences throughout the holiday season.

Seib, who lived through Reagan’s presidency, claimed Reagan surrounded himself with people who made up for his deficiencies. He ran his presidency based on his “vision and ideology.” Seib told Wallace:

“Reagan had a vision and an ideology. Donald Trump doesn’t have a vision or an ideology.”

While Seib thinks President-elect Donald Trump is transactional, he isn’t sure if Trump will be more or less effective than Reagan was.

In terms of the Trump/Reagan parallel of underestimation, Seib looked at the history of Trump’s short political career for indications of future behavior. He said:

“We’ve been through a year of underestimating Donald Trump, right? So, there’s ample reason to believe that will continue.”

Ben Domenech, founder and publisher of The Federalist, thinks the media may have a habit of judging Trump’s decisions “too soon.” But whether or not Trump will take a page from Reagan’s book and surprise everyone remains to be seen.