The late Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci used to tell me, "Never get into a pissing contest with people who buy ink by the barrel."

Now, I know Buddy didn't coin that phrase, but he certainly could have, because his battles with the press were legendary. He could have given Donald Trump some useful advice.

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The point is that every politician since George Washington--and even before--has had problems with the press. John Adams even had newspaper editors incarcerated if they wrote negative stories about his administration.

An adversarial relationship between elected officials and the press is the American way. It's the right way. It's the way it's supposed to work. When the press is too cozy with the government, as it was with Barack Obama, the lines get blurred.

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The news business has changed over the years. The internet has driven newspapers to near extinction and irrelevance. Cable news networks, stretched to fill 24/7 news cycles in order to compete with the instantaneous nature of the computer age, have had to resort to gimmicks and hype. In order to keep pace with digital media sources, traditional media will rush information to air or to print without the benefit of proper vetting, and as a result, mistakes happen.

Given the media's reliance on "all-star panels" and "expert" analysis, and the fact that the press, still pining for Obama, has an obvious dislike for Trump, and we've got some serious problems of credibility in the media.

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Trump has every right to call out the media when he believes it is being unfair or inaccurate. Most times he is right. Other presidents have complained about the press. Who had a worse relationship with the press than Nixon?

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For some 350 newspaper editors to launch a coordinated editorial page attack on Trump strikes me as egotistical and childish. To hear them whine that Trump is picking on them is pathetic.

"Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the 'enemy of the people,'" -- Boston Globe

"Insisting that truths you don't like are 'fake news' is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the 'enemy of the people' is dangerous, period," -- New York Times.

The newspaper editors need to check their fragile egos at the door and get down to the business of doing their jobs. Who knows, if they drop their fascination with trying to get Trump, they might actually discover there has been a coordinated coup attempt underway involving high-ranking members of the previous administration.

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But that's not as titillating as Omarosa or Stormy Daniels to a bunch of elite partisan news wonks.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.