One would not know it by the press he gets now, but President Donald Trump used to be a favorite in the media. As Jim Geraghty said in National Review, “Television’s coverage of Donald Trump from the 1980s to early 2015 portrayed Trump as a phenomenal business success, endlessly knowledgeable and fascinating, insightful, shrewd, entertaining, and funny — a larger-than-life character.” Some measure of truth exists in this observation. So what changed to make this man into a monster?

Once upon a time, Donald Trump was the toast of television

Only people of a certain age remember the Trump of the 1980s, a bon vivant businessman with a flashy lifestyle that was like catnip to the tabloid writers.

His various business dealings, his wives, his girlfriends, were all a source of endless fascination for a portion of the media. The fact that he was quotable got him on talk shows of the sort that now condemn him for an insane authoritarian in his presidency.

The Apprentice” was the zenith of Trump’s popularity. The show, in its various versions, was one of the more popular “reality” programs in the early part of this century. People waited to hear him say the dreaded words, “You’re fired!” as Trump’s favorite catchphrase. Audiences like the persona he developed of a gruff, no-nonsense man of business that likely fed into his appeal as a presidential candidate.

What changed?

Geraghty suggests that even the infamous Obama birther episode did not dent Trump’s armor.

However, one could already see the whispers of things to come, bringing out the future president’s dark side. His discovery of social media and his tendency to utter alarming stuff into it helped to change the Trump narrative into the caricature that it is now.

Even when Trump descended the elevator at the Trump Tower to announce his candidacy, most people rolled their eyes and suggested that his run was another publicity stunt, perhaps as a prelude to a new media venture.

However, when Trump started to win and win rather ugly at that, the media began to get alarmed. Clearly, it was time to put Trump away before he could hurt others and himself. Hence, the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tapes and generally slanted coverage that Republican politicians usually get.

But then, horror of horrors, Trump won the general election.

No longer was he the fun guy to have on the air, the sure-fire ratings winner for any talk show. Now Donald Trump was the threat to all that was pure and good. Now many in the media wake up every day with the words, “Trump delenda est.” Trump must be destroyed. And so here we are.