I can’t help wondering why Donald Trump decided to run for president. If his long and agonizing battle with 16 other Republican hopefuls during the primaries wasn’t enough, now he has to deal with a mainstream media still seething over its glaring failure to understand the American public’s distaste for Hillary Clinton and its preference for a consummate outsider.
If you want to see how infuriated the media are, just spend a few hours watching CNN and MSNBC—both of which were deep in the tank for Hillary Clinton, who they anointed as the rightful successor to King Barack Hussein Obama.
Today I watched a panel of six or seven liberal talking heads insult and demean our 45th President repeatedly, while the lone conservative on the panel attempted to present an opposing viewpoint. He was repeatedly shouted down or talked over. The man must be a masochist to appear on such a show.
This is the kind of “fairness” that Donald Trump cited during his Wednesday press conference when he referenced CNN’s decision to report that America’s intelligence chiefs had given Trump and Barack Obama a two-page summary of an intelligence report filled with salacious and unsubstantiated claims about the President-elect’s purported behavior.
CNN and Great Britain’s The Guardian also reported that Senator John McCain had delivered a copy to the FBI director, James Comey, last month, but withheld the documents’ most eye-opening details, citing lack of corroboration.
An hour after CNN’s initial story, BuzzFeed, a left-wing news aggregator, went ahead and published the documents just ten days before Trump’s inauguration, with a warning that the contents contained errors and were “unverified and potentially unverifiable.”
“BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government,” the site said in an accompanying note.
This folks is the NEW JOURNALISM. Attack with unverified and uncorroborated information and then hide behind the First Amendment.
To their credit, some media outlets expressed their dismay about such shoddy journalistic practice.
Adam Goldman of the New York Times blamed CNN for opening the can of worms. “Sequence of events: @CNN finds way to talk about report and @buzzfeed uses that as reason to publish. Media critics are gonna be busy,” he tweeted.
“Rare that a story stinks from every possible angle: the source, the content, the consequence, the messenger, the target,” tweeted Wolfgang Blau, chief digital officer of Condé Nast International and a former Guardian executive.
“Not how journalism works: Here’s a thing that might or might not be true, without supporting evidence; decide for yourself if it’s legit,” tweeted Brad Heath, an investigative reporter for USA Today.
The fact is, responsible news media are supposed to vet and substantiate the veracity of the stories they publish—not tell readers and viewers to decide for themselves if the stories are accurate.
So, is it any wonder then that President-elect Trump refused to answer a question from a CNN reporter during his press conference at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, as retribution for the CNN story.
“Not you. Your organization is terrible,” said Trump, when CNN’s senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, tried to ask a question.
“Since you’re attacking us, can you give us a question? Mr. President-elect, since you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance?” asked Acosta.
“I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news,” said the president-elect.
Trump then called Acosta, who would not shut up, “rude.” After the press conference, Trump’s White House press secretary Sean Spicer told Acosta he would throw him out of the press room if he behaved like that again.
Get ready folks. This is going to be the new normal when it comes to White House and Presidential coverage.
For decades the mainstream media has held sway over American presidents, criticizing them (sometimes with good reason) and generally functioning as a filter between them and the public.
Those days are gone. As Donald Trump has demonstrated, he fights back with his Twitter account which at last count had close to 40 million followers. There is not one news organization that has that kind of reach—not the New York Times, not CNN, not NBC, CBS or ABC.
I don’t think you will find Trump cowering in the White House when the media unleash their attack dogs on him.
For one thing, Trump has a pretty good attack dog of his own in Sean Spicer, who took to the press conference podium just before Trump to denounce Buzzfeed and CNN.
“It’s frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before he takes the oath of office,” Spicer said.
Yes, 2017 is going to be an exciting and possibly bloody year. You can expect the White House press room to resemble a Mixed Martial Arts ring.