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Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and the victimized media

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This is what the media do with Trump: Criticize him, await the blowback, then play dead before cashing in. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The national media can never be trusted when they claim they're being victimized by the Trump administration, because it's always a sham.

There's no clearer case than the two weeks-worth of hyperfocus on President Trump's tweet about MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski and her supposedly bloody "face-lift."

The morning after Trump's vicious attack on Brzezinski's facelift — she admitted that she had her chin "tweaked" — MSNBC promoted that she and her co-host Joe Scarborough would appear (on their own show!) to respond (delaying a planned vacation).

Taking on the air of two freed hostages suffering PTSD, Brzezinski and Scarborough assured a shaken nation that they were "okay."

"I've been getting a lot of texts and hearing you all talking," Brzezinski said. "Thank you. I'm fine. My family brought me up really tough."

"We're okay," said Scarborough, a defiant hero.

Less than two weeks after their trauma, the pair appeared this past Tuesday on late-night TV to giggle about it and promote Scarborough's side hustle as an aspiring rock artist.

Before a live performance of his song "Welcome to the Monkey House" — the music magazine Spin described it as "pretty bad" — Scarborough took the opportunity to announce in front of a sympathetic audience that he's switching his party identity from Republican to independent.

Applause followed and the look of pure satisfaction on Scarborough's face said that the tweet about Brzezinski, his new fiancé, paid off.

This is what the media do with Trump: Criticize him, await the blowback, then play dead before cashing in.

The New York Times ran a headline ahead of Independence Day about the First Amendment "under siege" and CNN complained that Trump "encourages violence against reporters" because he tweeted a video of him tackling the network's logo.

Yet the New York Times can't stop talking about its record Web traffic and CNN ends almost every hour reminding everyone that its ratings have spiked.

We're living in dark times. But, hey, did you see our numbers are up over last year?!

During the Republican primary in 2016, Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart News at the time, filed assault charges against Trump's then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski because he tugged her arm at a press conference.

She published a story that began, "I never wanted to be part of the story." Then she swiftly updated her to-be-published book to include a chapter on the Lewandowski incident, posed for glamour shots in Vanity Fair, and gave an on-camera interview to ABC News.

In the age of Trump, it's acceptable for reporters to claim they "never wanted to be part of the story," while waiting in a green room to go on TV and talk about themselves.

April Ryan, a White House reporter for American Urban Radio Networks, got a CNN contract in April after a series of confrontations with White House officials.

In May, White House press secretary Sean Spicer asked Ryan to "stop shaking your head" while he was answering one of her questions and the national press played it like a second leg of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Week magazine took care to note that Spicer had been speaking to "a black female reporter" and questioned whether he "cross[ed] a line."

For Ryan's courage, CBS' "Late Show" invited her on the show the next month and, when asked about the press corps, she said, "It's not about us."

Except under Trump, it always is.

It pays better.

Eddie Scarry is a media reporter for the Washington Examiner.