Trump vs. the media: Now the real fun begins

When it was revealed that President Richard Nixon kept an enemies list, Washington reporters who made the list gained a little bit more prestige and gravitas among their peers because they were thought to be tough on the president.

Reporters who didn’t make the list were almost ashamed because that implied you must have been a toadie to Nixon. Now, as the Trump administration settles into The White House, we may have a reversal of this situation.

press-conferenceIt seems the Trump transition team was considering moving The White House briefing room farther from the Oval Office, and maybe even out of the building to accommodate the increased number of press who want to cover the president, according to Trump’s people.

The White House press corps, ever the jealous guardians of their perks and prerogatives, complained so loud that Trump cancelled the idea. Trump told “Fox and Friends” there will be more press than the room can handle, so he and his staff will decide who gets to attend press briefings, traditionally a chore handled by the White House Press Association.

This could create an interesting dynamic. It’s no secret that Trump loathes the press corps, particularly the ones who write or broadcast stories he doesn’t like. He regularly taunts and mocks the press, and even refused to take a question from CNN at his most recent press conference because of its coverage of the alleged Russian dossier.

So if Trump and his staff get to choose who attends the press briefings, guess who’s going to get in. The best seats will go to the media rooting for Trump–think Fox News, Breitbart News, Drudge Report, etc.–while the likes of CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times will be lucky to get standing room in the back.

The mainstream media that is granted access may not want to show up, less they be thought of as pawns of the new administration. Talk about damning with faint praise!

Access to the White House briefing room is overrated anyway, because these affairs are stage-managed events designed to make the administration look authoritative and in command, with the media serving basically as window dressing. As Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward proved during the Watergate scandal, the real story is to be found elsewhere.

With Trump at the podium, press conferences are likely to feature bluster and lying than any attempt to get close to the truth. While every administration tries to ignore inconvenient facts and present its own rosy scenario, we’ve never had a president who routinely lies like Trump does.

It fact, it has reached the point where the media is debating whether they should call Trump a “liar” in articles and television reports when–you know–he’s caught lying. The debate started when Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, was asked if the Journal would use the word in its news stories. As Baker wrote later in the paper:

“The word ‘lie’ conveys a moral as well as factual judgement. To accuse someone of lying is to impute a willful, deliberate attempt to deceive. It says he knowingly used a misrepresentation of fact to mislead for his own purposes.

“If we are to use the term ‘lie’ in our reporting, then we have to be confident of the subject’s state of knowledge and his moral intent.” Baker is content to let his reporters point out how a statement varies from the known facts and let the readers decide who’s lying.

But there’s an easier test than that. If somebody willfully misstates the facts–“I would have won the popular vote if it wasn’t for millions of illegal votes”–or makes no effort to verify a claim he’s going to make, then he’s lying. See how easy it is.

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10 Responses to Trump vs. the media: Now the real fun begins

  1. stevefrisch says:

    I feel I owe it to you to say I think you are right on this one 🙂

    • ctgorectgore says:

      Oh really, on what count?
      Is that a closed mind liberal comment or a conservative comment?
      Nope a liberal comment from a liberal mind.
      I would welcome the opportunity to sit across the table from you and debate your liberal positions. For that to work you would need to have an open mind? Could you discuss with an open mind?

  2. Speaking of lies, press secretary Sean Spicer spent his first briefing Saturday attacking the press for “deliberately false reporting” on the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. To make his case, he offered the following facts:

    –The crowd on the Mall stretched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. There’s no photographic evidence to support that claim.

    –Fences and magnetometers prevented people from getting to the Mall quickly. No magnetometers were used to screen attendees, according to the Secret Service.

    –For “the first time in our nation’s history,” white protectors to cover the grass highlighted empty spots in the crowd. The same white protectors were used at Obama’s 2013 inauguration, according to the Park Service.

    –This was the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Obama (2009) and Reagan (1981) had higher TV ratings.

    –420,000 people took the Metro to the inauguration, more than for Obama’s inauguration in 2013. According to the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 193,00 people had used the Metro by 11 a.m. Friday. That contrasts with 1.1 million for Obama in 2009 and 782,000 in 2013.

    When asked about this Sunday, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Spicer used “alternative facts.” No he didn’t–he just lied.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      Sure those darned politicians are just not trustworthy. Sort of like the false media releases eh? What is this holier than thou the press is trying to foist on us? Check it out. Spicer has higher ratings than the media. Anyway, in my humble opinion, Trump will drive this narrative until the press gets truthful and fair.

  3. Todd Juvinall says:

    Very well done column today.

  4. Todd Juvinall says:

    Of course I ripped you. That is the game. You rip me and I rip you.

  5. The Wall Street Journal still has trouble using the “L” word. In today’s article about Trump’s renewed claim that he lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes for Clinton, The Journal refers to “an assertion that lacks supporting evidence.”

    The New York Times got straight to the point in its headline: “Trump Repeats an Election Lie to Top Lawmakers.”

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      There are allegations that illegals by the gobs voted in this state.

    • Are you really dumb enough to believe Clinton got 4 million votes from illegals in California? The highest number of illegals in California I’ve seen in 3 million–most estimates put the number at around 2.4 million–and that includes over 200,000 who are 16 or younger. You’re like Sean Spicer–you want to believe it’s true.

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