I read some articles on The Washington Post today regarding the Trump Administration's first "Press Briefing" that transpired over the weekend, which basically devolved into a scolding and force-feeding of "alternate-facts" (read LIES) to share with the public. These articles have led me to my next topic in my AT (After Trump) series. This one continues to focus on the press and (now President) Trump's continuing contempt for them and what I think is the only way to handle this new administration.
Watch this TYT video below for a good summary:
The Washington Post articles showed something interesting (see the excerpts from three articles at the bottom of this post). The press seems to have decided that enough is enough and that maybe, just maybe, they will not stand idly by and report the talking points given by the Trump Administration. If you are cut in to politics and especially if you are a progressive you have likely been infuriated by the way the press has sat in the White House briefing room figuratively begging for a scrap of well groomed, pre-screened, information to dole out to their readers/viewers.
Heaven forbid that they do take some of those millions of dollars in annual salaries paid to their top news-readers and do some investigative reporting. But that leads me to what I think could be the next in the list of action items for people like myself in this time AT (After Trump): Lets make #sendtheinterns go viral on all social media platforms.
The hashtag was suggested by Jay Rosen on his Blog: PressThink in a similarly titled article:
Look: they can’t visit culture war upon you if they don’t know where you are. The press has to become less predictable. It has to stop functioning as a hate object. This means giving something up. The dream of the White House briefing room and the Presidential press conference is that accountability can be transacted in dramatic and televisable moments: the perfect question that puts the President or his designate on the spot, and lets the public see — as if in a flash — who they are led by. This was always an illusion. Crumbling for decades, it has become comically unsustainable under Trump.
Please note: I am not saying that as a beat the White House is unimportant, or that its pronouncements can be ignored. I’m not saying: devote less attention to Trump. Rather: change the terms of this relationship. Make yourself more elusive. In the theater of resentment where you play such a crucial part, relinquish that part.
The hard thing is not sending the interns, or tasking the experienced people with an outside-in beat into which they can dig. The hard thing is giving up on the dream of some exquisite confrontation that reveals all: accountability in a box.
There are already signs they are not going to take this treatment lying down.
Share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr whatever... tweet it at your favorite news source listed on the White House Press Corps (that I have conveniently compiled for you) let them know the will of their audience. Maybe tag the entity with one of the awesome photos on this post or just tweet at them:
It doesn't have to be like this, call off the #whitehouse #presscorps , #sendtheinterns, #investigatetrump
That still leaves you 33 charachters for customization!
ABC News: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
Bloomberg Television: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
C-Span: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
CBS News: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
CNN: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
CTV News: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
FOX News: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
MSNBC: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
NBC News: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
Print & Internet
Associated Press: Facebook, Twitter
The Chicago Tribune: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
The Daily Caller: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
The Huffington Post: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Politico: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
Mother Jones: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
The New York Times: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Newsmax Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
The Wall Street Journal: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
The Washington Times: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
USA Today: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
Yahoo News: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
As I mentioned earlier, here are the links to The Washington Post articles that got me started down this path and some snippets that I liked. Please consider acting, if we show the press that we back their new-found journalistic integrity we just may win back the free press!
All White Houses spin and try to pressure the media into reporting stories their preferred way. But this looks like something considerably more: A concerted effort to erode the core idea that the news media is legitimately playing its role in informing the citizenry. If the media challenges or factually debunks the fabricated, Trump-aggrandizing narrative that is coming out of the Trump White House, it will respond by simply repeating relentlessly that the fabricated story-line is the truth. Needless to say, there cannot be any shared agreement on facts or reality, except on the ones that the Trump White House has validated. This is why the most important thing about Spicer’s statement is the word “period.” When the Trump White House declares what the truth is, the discussion is over.
This is not a conventional dispute over the facts. It is not about “relations” between the press and the White House. It is about truth and power. The message this is designed to send is that Trump has the power to declare what the truth is, and the news media does not. The Trump White House is maintaining this posture while telling enormous, demonstrable lies, but no matter — according to the new White House Ministry of Disinformation, the truth is what Donald Trump says it is. Bank on it: This will hold true even when Donald Trump contradicts Donald Trump.
Chuck Todd asked Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. “It's a small thing, but the first time he confronts the public, it's a falsehood?”
After some tense back and forth, Conway offered this:
Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You're saying it's a falsehood, and they're giving — our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to that. But the point really is —
At this point, a visibly exasperated Todd cut in. “Wait a minute. Alternative facts? Alternative facts? Four of the five facts he uttered . . . were just not true. Alternative facts are not facts; they're falsehoods.”
The presidency is not a reality show, but President Trump on his first full day in office made clear that he’s still obsessed with being what he once proudly called “a ratings machine.”
He cares enough about it to send his press secretary, Sean Spicer, out to brazenly lie to the media in his first official briefing.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said. And he added a scolding about widespread reports that differ from his evidence-free assessment: “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
Crowd size experts estimate Trump’s audience at far fewer than the million or more that Trump is claiming, and at far less than the size of the following day’s women’s march, which the new president has said little about. And side-by-side photographs showed the contrast between the comparatively thin gathering for Trump’s inauguration and the record-setting one in 2009 for former president Barack Obama’s first...
Journalists shouldn’t rise to the bait and decide to treat Trump as an enemy. Recalling at all times that their mission is truth-telling and holding public officials accountable, they should dig in, paying far more attention to actions than to sensational tweets or briefing-room lies — while still being willing to call out falsehoods clearly when they happen.
They also should quickly acknowledge and correct their own inevitable errors, as Time’s Zeke Miller did — multiple times and with an apology — after erroneously reporting that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office.
That didn’t keep the president from making Miller’s reporting error a major issue as he raged during his CIA visit: “This is how dishonest the media is.”
Trump wants a flat-out war with the nation’s media for one well-calculated reason: Because he believes it will continue to serve his political purposes, as it has for months.
Journalists should respond by doing their jobs responsibly, fairly and fearlessly, in service of the public good.
Somebody has to be the grown-up in the room. We’ve just been reminded of who it won’t be.