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To Donald Trump: stop hiding from the media

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Dear Mr. Trump,

I hear you’re skipping today’s debate. You claim Megyn Kelly and Fox News have treated you unfairly. This has allowed your competitors to claim you’re weak. They’re using this as an opportunity to attack you — as Sen. Cruz said, “I promise you, Putin is a lot scarier than Megyn Kelly.” But I’m not going to attack you. I’m going to educate you. Your comments suggest a lack of understanding about the media’s role in events such as this debate.

Mr. Trump, the media is not here to coddle you. It’s also not here to attack, needlessly criticize or otherwise smear your name as you’ve accused it of doing in the past. However, it does exist to inform, to analyze, to fact check — not just you, but every candidate in this race. For the majority of Americans, the news media is their most direct line to candidates like you.

I know you understand this, whatever you might say to the contrary. Your campaign has utilized media from the start. Whenever you broadcast a speaking event, that’s media. Whenever you tweet your thoughts to your 5.86 million followers, that’s media. Whenever you go on a morning talk show and rant about how America doesn’t win anymore, that’s media.

The trouble is, Mr. Trump, you don’t get to pick and choose. You can’t run a campaign fueled by the mainstream media while at the same time denouncing it for unfair treatment. You don’t get to hand pick the anchors and moderators who will question you on the behalf of the American people. That defeats the purpose of the media. Do you remember the Constitution you’re up in arms to defend? Freedom of the press is included in the First Amendment with that freedom of speech you love to utilize. This free press serves as the watchdog of government, an informal fourth branch. That role is compromised the second the media bend to an individual’s demands, even if he has made “millions and millions of dollars.”

Suffice to say, Mr. Would-be-POTUS, Thursday’s debate will continue with or without you. Megyn Kelly will be there, and your absence will come back to haunt you. Because if you really are elected and sworn in as our 45th president, you will have to answer to all media, not just Fox News.

So go ahead and fight the press, Mr. Trump. We’ll be there, covering the debate. We’ll be there, covering your alternative event in Iowa. We’ve been around far longer than you have, and if I had to bet, I wouldn’t bet on you.

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