The media largely structures its coverage around partisan disagreement. If a candidate’s own party won’t defend something he says, journalists treat that statement as illegitimate. Which means that Trump, by refusing to commit to respect the election outcome, has just given the media an excuse to savage him in the days to come.
For months now, Hillary Clinton has been arguing that Trump represents a threat to American democracy. Tonight, he made her point more effectively than she could ever have dreamed. He’s handed the media and his fellow Republicans the rope with which to hang him. They’re going to do so with glee.
Peter Beinart, “Trump’s Worst Answer Will Also Be His Downfall”, The Atlantic (19 October 2016) [http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/trumps-worst-answer-will-also-be-his-downfall/504767/]