I’m a bit upset with Sen. John McCain’s column in the Jan. 18 Trib alleging that President Trump’s attacks cause damage to the press. In many aspects of our society, defending yourself is not an attack but a response to attacks. What I see in all of the hoopla going on appears to be a reasonable and justified response by Trump, defending himself and his family from a media so hostile to him that some of their attacks border upon insanity.

This really began in earnest on Election Night when several members of the news media were reduced to hysterical behavior, tears and all, because Trump had won the election. It has gone downhill since then. Many of the media outlets have latched on to second- and third-hand “leaked” information and proceeded to run with it, with no attempt to verify it. So far as I am concerned, sharing this information with a few of your buddies, then reporting “multiple sources,” is not verification. This continues constantly.

We have seen vicious verbal attacks on the president and his family, up to and including graphic display of a facsimile of his severed head. We have seen reporters scream and yell at any person being interviewed if the latter are supportive of Trump and his efforts. We have seen reporters ask questions over and over about the minute details of his recent health assessment, replete with armchair diagnoses from “experts” to the extent of pronouncing that he is suffering from heart disease (this too by absentee opinions, without any examination). We have seen allegations by so-called psychiatric specialists, in spite of this sort of absentee assessment being a serious breach of ethics of the American Psychiatric Association, that our president is mentally unfit to be president. (Oh, wait a minute, one of those “experts” happens to not be a psychiatrist but a college professor who teaches some sort of social activism classes!)

All of this, and more, form the media, the lunatic fringe in Hollywood, the Democrats and even a few of his own party members, most notably a couple he defeated in the 2016 Republican primary. It’s no wonder the man is striking back. And it’s pretty understandable.

I understand and agree that a free, fair and honest press is important, and I would not want any elected official to retaliate against members for fair and accurate reporting. It is my sincere belief that this toxic situation could dissipate if the constant barrage of character assaults were to be replaced with verified news items only and at least some reporting of the positives that are happening, such as the booming economy, the lowered unemployment rate, the repatriation of billions of dollars back into this country, new jobs being created and a host of other positives that currently seem under-reported.

Lester H. Beaird, of Lacy Lakeview, is retired from a career in prison administration, including the Texas Department of Corrections.