There was a brief moment after Donald Trump's election when it was conceivable to ask whether he would strive to be a "uniter" or a "divider." The moment passed quickly as Trump made it clear that he does not intend to abandon the style of politics — insulting and divisive — that got him elected. His recent declaration that the news media are "the enemy of the American people" is but the latest reminder.

Trump's theory of politics is that it's OK to offend five voters if seven voters approve. Dividing the country is the name of the game. The object is to create a coalition of the resentful. Polarization is not only the consequence. It is the underlying purpose and philosophy.

In this strategy, the news media are tempting targets. There are so few of them — actually, I mean so few of "us" — that we are easily cast as scapegoats for assorted disappointments. Even in good times, we can be hard to like. No one elected us; our political and cultural values are skewed liberal; and we are often arrogant in our assumed role as guardians of American democracy, holding elected officials accountable and defending free speech.