The mainstream media’s latest freakout de jour came when the Trump Administration excluded several traditional outlets from White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s Q&A session on Friday afternoon:
Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were various news organizations that Trump has singled out in the past including CNN, The NYT, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News.
Several non mainstream outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network. Several other major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters and Bloomberg, however AP and Time have boycotted the event.
Let’s examine these blameless victims of Trump’s heartless war on our hallowed free press:
BuzzFeed is garbage. “People are losing their minds over this Buzzfeed trolling headline!”
There are plenty of reasons CNN was dubbed the Clinton News Network last year.
Politico and The Hill do some good reporting, but they’ve been heavily slanted against both Trump and Republicans for quite a while.
The Daily Mail might, at first glance, be a surprise, since they are perceived as quite right-leaning in the UK for their willingness to cover some stories (like sex crimes committed by Muslim immigrants) other outlets won’t touch. But then there’s the tiny matter of them calling the First Lady a prostitute…
BBC news leans pretty far left these days (though not as far left as The Guardian). UK PM Theresa May should push to privatize the Beeb, or at least spin off the news division, allowing the BBC to focus on core competencies like Doctor Who.
I so seldom read or link to the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News that I don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion.
And that leaves the New York Times, the once proud paper that so grossly abandoned even a pretense of objectivity to demonize Trump throughout the 2016 Presidential campaign. This, I think, is the one that will bring most howls of outrage on the left, given how heavily they’re invested in the idea that the “Old Gray Lady” is still a great paper in its prime rather than a declining hard-left regional daily partially owned by a shady Mexican billionaire. Indeed, many liberals seem to celebrate the “specialness” of the New York Times for the second-hand ego gratification “specialness” of being Times readers.
My suspicion is that the Trump Administration has engineered this outrage to bury some sort of document or policy dump (you know, just like Obama used to do). But it also has the salutatory effect of inducing still more status anxiety in the traditional dinosaurs of the press perturbed at being supplanted by such ostracized mammals as Breitbart and the Washington Times.
If mainstream media outlets don’t want to be excluded from White House briefings due to bias, maybe they should stop putting out fake and biased news. Sure, investigate Trump when he deserves it. But where was all this “extreme vetting” when Obama was President for eight years?
I actually have a few ideas on how President Trump might troll the media still further:
Trump should tell the New York Times that he’ll let them back into media briefings if they fire Glenn Thrush. Remember Thrush? He was the one that actually sought copy approval from Team Hillary during the campaign while working for Politico. In the bygone days of yore, that sort of naked political sycophancy got reporters fired, but the New York Times decided that slavish subservience to Democratic Party power-brokers was exactly what they wanted in their newsroom, so they hired him after the election. Asking for Thrush’s head would force the media to talk about just how badly so many outlets were in the tank for Hillary in 2016, and theincestuous relationships between the mainstream media and the Democratic Party.
Trump should tell CNN that he’ll let them back into media briefings if they fire everyone who attended “a private, off-the-record gathering at the New York home of Joel Benenson, the chief campaign strategist for Hillary Clinton, two days before she announced her candidacy in 2015.” That would include Brianna Keilar, David Chalian. Gloria Borger. Jeff Zeleny, John Berman, Kate Bolduan, Mark Preston and Sam Feist (assuming one or more haven’t already left in the interim).
Trump should offer to let Bernie Sanders pick one reporter to attend White House briefings, and promise to let them ask at least one question. After all, Sanders was on the pointy end of Team Clinton’s 2016 screwjob. Letting him pick a reporter would not only force the media to revisit the screwjob, it would add fuel to the inter-party fight to control the DNC. Plus, while Sanders would probably be pressured to pick the New York Times, he could pick anybody: The Nation, the Addison County Independent, the Socialist Worker or the People’s World. Hell, he could pick David Icke to ask Trump if he’s a shape-changing reptoid. (Would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?)
These are just a few off the top of my head.
Reporting used to be a blue collar profession anyone could join if they worked hard and could write. These days they seem more like a credentialed priestly class open only to those with the right (i.e. left) backgrounds and political beliefs. Suspending slanted outlets from briefing events is far less of a blow to a free press than their willing subservience to the Democratic Party. Let them start acting like reporters again rather than (to quote Glenn Reynolds) “Democratic operatives with bylines.”