Monday, January 30, 2017

White House vs. The Press

A Facebook friend posted this link and asked for opinions. Here is my take:

If the members of the press decide that they want to go to war with the White House, that is their choice. I doubt that it will go as well for them as they think. Not because I have any great trust in Trump's truthfulness, but rather, I think the press underestimates just how much mistrust they have earned.

Yes, it's pretty obvious that Trump's team would like to shape the facts to fit their narrative. But the press is hardly innocent of creating "alternative facts". There are folks who still remember when Dan Rather brought about his own downfall by insisting that certain memos should be regarded as truth even after their obvious forgery was discovered. Or when Brian Williams was caught creatively embellishing his personal experiences reporting in war zones.

This misrepresentation of truth has gotten very personal, as ordinary people have seen with their own eyes as violent mobs have been referred to as "peaceful protesters", and actual peaceful protesters have been maligned as racist, hateful, and violent. There's only so many times you can refer to a peaceful person as hateful before it starts to take a toll.

The press and politicians in DC have been in bed with one another both figuratively and literally for a long time. Reporters are treated as celebrities and kings at events like the White House Correspondents Dinner, and it has paid off for many politicians as they get a friendly channel to shape the story that people hear. But with social media, the organized press's power to control what people hear is waning.

The fact that Trump is willing to "take on the dishonest press" may actually help him in some peoples' view. Not in mine, because I don't regard Trump as any more honest. I don't believe that lies justify more lies. But I won't be shedding any tears of sympathy for the poor, maligned, disrespected press either.

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