Keep making it about yourselves, press corps
Offering no explanation, the White House excluded CNN, Buzzfeed, the LA Times, the New York Times, and several foreign outlets from its informal press gaggle Friday. Fox and other network outlets were permitted attendance, as were larger right-learning outlets like the Washington Times and One America News Network.
Naturally, excluded outlets are less than thrilled.
Jake Tapper is one of the better offerings from the cable news world, but he’s wrong that the White House stonewalling overtly hostile press is “Un-American.”
I think this is exactly the point — most of the press leans blatantly one direction and is not ideologically independent. https://t.co/7NVJ3FlLVM
— Kemberlee Kaye (@KemberleeKaye) February 24, 2017
So does Professor Jacobson:
Sorry, you sat and watched your profession throw its credibility into the toilet with Obamamania and bias, Trump is just flushing it. https://t.co/vNSouM2CC6
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) February 24, 2017
In response to being turned away Friday, CNN’s Brian Stelter suggested CNN and the NY Times show impartiality to ALL presidents.
And that’s exactly why the Stelter’s of the world are seldom taken seriously these days.
The outlets who were not invited to the gaggle party have a well-documented history of misreporting all things related to our new President. Should they be rewarded access for sloppy, bias-driven reporting?
And because this seems to be consistently misunderstood — denying access is not censorship, nor is doing so anywhere close to first amendment infringement territory. It might have been foolish and base-bating, but their decision was most certainly not unconstitutional.
“The Great Press Wars” as I’ve decided to dub them, are both fascinating and necessary.
Trump is largely a product of cable news. Sure there were various other factors that played into his popularity and electoral win, but the media played a leading role in Trump’s eventual electoral success. During his candidacy, cable networks live streamed his rallies, covered his quip, and devoted an ungodly amount of time to Trump promotion, all because he was ratings gold. It was all fun and games until Trump walked into the White House.
Trump has been notoriously critical of the press, spending seventy-seven minutes of a press conference candidly schooling media members on how they ought to ask questions, reminding them of their low approval ratings, and leveraging national press coverage to skewer the press corps. Trump supporters love it. His base adores his sharp words. And for good reason — Trump is saying to the political media what consumers have been saying all along — enough with the bias.
You would think that after suffering a month of public humiliation for their obvious preferences in an industry where none should exist, members of the political media set would embark on an introspective journey, perhaps mull how they ended up being dubbed an “enemy of the American people.” Instead, the opposite has happened — the press corps continues to make themselves the martyr, perpetuating, instead of ending, the battle for neutral reporting.
So out of touch are they that the Editor-in-chief of Reuters had to specifically instruct reporters in this frightening, new post-Obama world to, “get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us.” They should’ve been doing exactly that all along.
The victimhood, the whining, the “un-American” hyperbole — it all reinforces what Americans already believe about the press, which happens to be exactly what President Trump is saying.
While the entire ordeal is fascinating and even entertaining, a raging press war is not sustainable, even if Trump is right.
On one hand, there’s little more gratifying than watching the political media corps being brought back down to planet Earth after eight years of coddling under Obama’s tenure. On the other, dwelling in a constant state of divisiveness and contentiousness is taxing.
It’s a teeny tiny bit unsettling that several outlets were denied access today. But only a little. Better would be open access for all, all the time. But that’s never been the reality.
Not all outlets are present on Airforce One, nor are they all included in various informal gaggles, like today’s. Every president before Trump has had a preferred news outlet or few that had access where and when others did not.
Trump’s White House has made it clear they plan to broaden their reach to include “alternative” media outlets who weren’t previously privy to White House press briefings. Including more outlets means they’ll likely be required to stagger accessibility in order to accommodate everyone.
But the pragmatic explanation will be ignored and instead, the press will make themselves the story. Again.
The self-involvement of the political media is exactly why the average American is likely to side with Trump in the Great Press Wars.
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