Last week the Trump White House hinted that it might suspend the daily on-camera press briefings by Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???” President Trump wrote on Twitter last Friday.
Why was President Trump considering such a drastic move? Because “it is not possible” for his staff to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public, Trump said.
However, another reason, according to administration officials and Republican members of Congress, is that the news media have discarded any sense of objectivity and are in attack mode against a president a majority of reporters do not like and in some cases, actually hate.
In any case, the response by the reporters in the White House press corps to the suggestion of terminating the White House press briefing was nothing short of hysterical.
How could Trump do this? It is an affront to the freedom of the press. It is an attack on the First Amendment. It shows disrespect for the news media. In infringes on the right of the American people to know, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam.
The hand-wringing went on and on as did the whining.
Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and a White House reporter for Reuters, said in a statement last Friday that ending the briefings would “threaten” government accountability.
“White House briefings and press conferences provide substantive and symbolic opportunities for journalists to pose questions to officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government,” he said. “That exercise, conducted in full view of our republic’s citizens, is clearly in line with the spirit of the First Amendment. Doing away with briefings would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the U.S. system, no political figure is above being questioned.”
Oh, boo hoo.
Anybody who watches the briefings and then reads or watches what is reported can see that the coverage is almost always negative. Seldom, if ever, are there stories about Trump’s accomplishments.
How many stories have you seen that say consumer confidence is at a 16-year high; that small business confidence is at a twelve-year high; that business confidence, on the whole, is surging since Trump entered the White House?
And what about this? Despite historic Democrat obstructionism, President Trump has worked with Congress to pass more legislation (28 laws) in his first 100 days than any President since Truman.
Yes, that includes Obama, upon whom the mainstream media bestowed sainthood.
But wait, we aren’t finished. President Trump signed 30 executive orders during his first 100 days. By comparison, President Obama signed 19 executive orders during his first 100 days; President George W. Bush signed 11 executive orders during his first 100 days, and President Clinton signed 13 executive orders during his first 100 days.
And we aren’t finished yet. President Trump signed 13 Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions in his first 100 days, more than any other President in history. These resolutions nullified unnecessary regulations and blocked agencies from reissuing them.
Of course, you didn’t see stories that reported these accomplishments. Why? Because God forbid that the media report anything that gives the current occupant of the people’s house any credit at all.
Someone said recently that if reporters witnessed Trump walking on water, they would report that he can’t swim.
I cannot abide whining reporters who feel they are endowed with special rights beyond the privilege of the First Amendment and the vital responsibility to report the news fairly and impartially.
I did the job for 27 years with the Chicago Tribune in one of the toughest newspaper towns in the country, and I regularly dealt with criticism from politicians and others who didn’t like what I wrote. I was called names, threatened with law suits and occasionally harassed.
After I had written one story about a Chicago mafia figure, I got a phone call in which the man on the other end threatened to kill me, cut me up into small pieces and set my remains afloat in Lake Michigan in forty-seven Mason jars. It was the most creative critique of my journalistic prowess I ever received, and to this day I still treasure it.
How did I deal with it? I just grew a thicker skin and moved on to the next story. It is sad to see the “wussification” of journalists today.
When the President criticizes you, get over it and keep doing your damned job! Believe me; the public feels no sympathy for you.
Do I support ending the White House press briefings? No, I do not.
I believe that since Donald Trump took the oath of office, the briefings have become the greatest show on earth. The repartee between the growling anti-Trump reporters and the Spicer—Huckabee tag team is fascinating, if not always enlightening.
But seriously, folks, I believe the press briefings serve a useful purpose, providing openness and transparency of the Executive Branch—something that was sorely missing during the eight years of the Obama administration.
My advice to reporters who feel “threatened” by Donald Trump? Get a Kevlar vest and show up at the briefings ready to do battle on behalf of the American people—and avoid propagandizing in your stories whatever left or right wing ideology you may endorse.