“start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone”
Our completely unbiased media has awoken from hibernation. For the first time in a long time, they’re preparing to hold the government accountable, particularly the White House.
Jack Shafer of Politico sounds quite excited about this new era of hard hitting journalism:
Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again
Donald Trump and his forthcoming presidency may be the greatest gift to Washington journalism since the invention of the expense account. His unorthodox approach to politics and governance has vaporized the standard, useful, yet boring script for reporting on a new administration’s doings.
At his news conference last week, Trump began the process of washing the press completely out of his fake hair as he castigated CNN and BuzzFeed for reporting on the oppo-research dossier compiled on him. “Fake news,” said the man who has appeared on InfoWars and commended the outlet’s efforts…
Now, before the Committee to Protect Journalists throws up the batsign and the rest of us bemoan Trump’s actions as anti-press—which they are—let’s thank the incoming president for simplifying our mission. If Trump’s idea of a news conference is to spank the press, if his lieutenants believe the press needs shutting down, if his chief of staff wants to speculate about moving the White House press scrum off the premises, perhaps reporters ought to take the hint and prepare to cover his administration on their own terms.
Instead of relying exclusively on the traditional skills of political reporting, the carriers of press cards ought to start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death.
“A matter of life or death.”
That’s quite a departure from journalism in the age of Obama. Does everyone recall Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times asking newly sworn in President Obama what he found “enchanting” about his new job?
Shafer’s column stirred strong reactions on Twitter:
“We can practice journalism again now that Obama’s leaving and a Republican is coming in”–reporters who should stop thinking out loud.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 16, 2017
What better way to signal to 86% of the public who don’t trust news media anymore than to readily admit you took last 8 years off. https://t.co/rdd3eCi352
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) January 16, 2017
Let’s fix this headline: Trump Is Making Journalists … Do Their Job Again? https://t.co/xUdAPMUFld
— Rachel Stoltzfoos (@RachelStoltz) January 16, 2017
The point of this article seems to be “we fucked up so badly we now have to do what should have done. So please forget we really fucked up” pic.twitter.com/z2ORxKd48n
— Chris Arnade (@Chris_arnade) January 16, 2017
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