Though the bulk of the news coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is negative, he has managed to cultivate a few allies within the news media.
And not bottom-feeder allies. They're journalists and opinion leaders who, in some way or another, serve to bolster Trump as a legitimate candidate, especially among Republican primary voters.
Here are his five biggest allies:
Breitbart News — The right-leaning Breitbart News website has served as a steady platform for Trump to get out his side of any story, apparently unfiltered. The website, founded by the late conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart, is especially influential among Tea Party, grassroots Republicans who are skeptical of the national party apparatus — the "establishment" Republicans, like Jeb Bush.
"Our audience wants to hear the unfiltered truth about issues like the border and immigration that oftentimes go ignored by the mainstream media and are being hit on every day by Trump," said Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart. "Our coverage at Breitbart is a reflection of that."
In the past, though, Breitbart has defended Trump from critical coverage even outside of politics. In early 2014, BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins profiled Trump in a lengthy story that cast him as a gleeful troublemaker without any real intention of ever running for public office. Trump, dissatisfied with the piece, turned to Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle, who wrote a scurrilous piece on Coppins. Boyle characterized Coppins, who is married, as a "geeky" womanizer who "ogled" Trump's female staffers.
Morning Joe — While Breitbart News serves as a direct line to a large portion of the Republican base, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" reaches the other side of the party: the power brokers from New York to Washington.
The hosts of "Morning Joe," former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, have said they "personally" like Trump. After Trump came under fire last weekend for belittling GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain's service in the Vietnam War, "Morning Joe" ran video of Trump stating multiple times that he does believe McCain is a "war hero."
Scarborough said Tuesday that Trump's initial remarks on McCain were a "horrible, deplorable five-second joke," but said the news media hadn't done enough to show Trump's backtracking. "I looked at all the news reports late afternoon and nobody was covering that, nobody," Scarborough said. "[Trump's] at the top of the polls now. They (the media) need to be careful or people are going to tune them out. … I think they're missing their target."
Ann Coulter — New York Times bestselling author Ann Coulter's latest book, Adios America!, was released just in time to coincide with Trump's screed against the U.S. immigration system, thus creating a natural and mutually beneficial relationship between the them.
When Trump declared his candidacy in June, he said many of the illegal immigrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border are "rapists" and criminals. Coulter's book, released just before, charges many of the same things.
"I see myself as his secretary of Homeland Security," Coulter said in an email to the Washington Examiner media desk. "No one has ever been attacked like this — by Macy's, PGA, Huffington Post, the mayor of New York and every major network. They must be terrified of him."
Coulter maintains a vast fanbase that mirrors a portion of Republican primary voters. "As long as Trump keeps talking about immigration, he'll keep soaring in the polls with actual Americans and continue to be viciously attacked by everyone else," she said. But Coulter hasn't always been a Trump backer. In 2011, when Trump flirted with a White House run and suggested that President Obama might not be an American-born citizen, she called him a "clown."
Bill O'Reilly — While every other declared GOP presidential candidate has offered their first post-campaign announcement interviews to Fox News host Sean Hannity, the network's biggest star, Bill O'Reilly, got Trump. O'Reilly and Trump are known to attend sports games together. And O'Reilly has often defended Trump on his show.
On his show Tuesday, O'Reilly said Trump is getting a raw deal from the national press because he isn't "cowering" from them. "He has no fear. He could not care less about censoring himself and the press does not intimidate him. So because of that approach, the media believe they must punish Mr. Trump for being disrespectful and not cowering before them. Plus, they don't like his politics, generally speaking."
Roger Ailes — Fox News is perhaps the biggest media factor in the Republican presidential primary. Its massive audience tilts to the right and it is where many voters will see the candidates in action. Fox is also hosting the first GOP primary debate on Aug. 6.
The New York Times on Tuesday reported that Trump and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, a former Republican operative, had a friendly and private lunch in June. "Mr. Ailes, who recently renewed his multiyear contract, enjoys his editorial independence and his position as cable news contrarian," the Times reported. "And in Fox News's serious handling of Mr. Trump so far, longtime associates of Mr. Ailes discern a larger plan."