So who’s using whom?

Rush Limbaugh says that Trump has the media frustrated and wrapped around his little finger:

…[T]hey can’t take him out. They can’t stop covering him. They can’t humiliate him. They can’t embarrass him. They can’t diminish his support. They’re powerless, and this has them in a panic. The media that can make-or-break anybody cannot touch Trump, and every time they try, all they do is make him bigger. They can’t explain this. They are frustrated to no end, and so are both political parties who rely on the media to be the great equalizer in all of this.

Nothing’s working. No matter what Trump says, the media is there, and every member of the media is there. Every network, every camera, every microphone is there.

There’s no question Trump is getting more coverage than anyone else, by a huge margin. YUUUGE! So perhaps Limbaugh is right, and Trump is having a good laugh on a media that can’t do a thing about him except his bidding, and is instrumental in getting him more and more attention even though they don’t want to do it.

But here’s an alternate theory, one I happen to ascribe to.

It’s true that the media knows that Trump is the story of the election. He’s exciting; people are entertained by watching him. So the media gets a lot out of covering him—more readers and viewers. Remember, though, that the vast majority of the MSM is on the left, and much of what they do is with the intention of directing their readers and viewers to what’s so dreadful about Trump, and of energizing Democratic voters so that, if Trump becomes the Republican nominee, voters will feel they must vote for the sane person—who would be Hillary—even if they don’t much like her.

I have believed from the very start of Trump’s campaign that the MSM (except for the MSM on the right, which is a very small group compared to the liberal MSM) would very much like Trump to be the Republican nominee. It’s the media and the pundits on the right who for the most part are frustrated that Trump has risen so high and has become the front runner in the Republican field. The media on the left is somewhat happy, because they believe very strongly that if nominated he will lose, and they believe that his chances of losing are greater than those of certain other candidates such as, for example, Rubio (and polls have borne that out, at least so far).

I think the liberal and leftist media may be correct about Trump’s relative weakness in the general against Hillary, although of course that situation could change and he could start showing more strength against her as time goes on. But more importantly, they think they’re correct and that he would lose to her. So for them, covering Trump is win/win. They get ratings. And although they’re not trying to destroy him—not for now—they dearly want him to be the nominee, and they’re confident they can destroy him later, or that he will end up self-destructing with the majority of Americans.

They might be right or they might be wrong. But they think they own him in the sense of using him to fit their purposes, not the other way around.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]