What savvy journalists say when they are minimizing Trump’s hate movement against journalists

To the uninitiated it may look like a fight. Actually, it's a dance, they tell us.

29 Apr 2018 12:35 pm 38 Comments

For two years I have been tracking a speech pattern among American journalists, in which they try to explain to us — and perhaps to themselves — why Donald Trump’s campaign to discredit them is not what it seems, why it’s no big deal.

In this post, I am going to show you the pattern (mostly) and comment on it (a little bit.) It started during the 2016 campaign…

1. Jack Shafer, media writer for Politico, June 6, 2016

Donald Trump’s Phony War on the Press.

Some journalists—dare I say it?—are overreacting to Trump’s bile and bluster. It’s not that his outbursts are merely for show. He obviously gets steamed at direct, prodding questions that he can’t evade. But his eagerness to insult the press—it was by his choice that the press-damning press conference went on for 40-minutes—perversely signals his passion for the labors of the fourth estate. The Trump vs. the press story is like a rom-com sit-com, only it airs on the news channels!

Truth is, he loves us! He lives and dies by what we say about him.

The anthropologist in me views the Trump-press contretemps as the endemic and persistent warfare associated with the stylized combat sometimes observed between tribes in the Papua New Guinea Highlands: The two sides pair off, shouting insults and derision at one another, claiming the other side started it. Much noise and many insults are traded, grudges are captured and preserved. Skirmishes break out here and there, followed by temporary truces until the cycle begins anew. A lot of people pay attention. Only rarely does anybody die.

To the uninitiated it may look like a fight. Actually, it’s a dance.

2. Matthew Yglesias, senior correspondent, Vox.com, Apr. 5, 2017

Though during the campaign it was suggested at times, including by Trump, that he would seek to enact actual, specific legal and policy changes that would be bad for the media, Trump has never gone there as president. He enjoys the political pretense of a war with the press, and much of the press has used the pretense of conflict with the Trump administration as a marketing gimmick. But the whole conflict has a kayfabe aspect to it, in which the appearance of a feud is entertaining for the audience and mutually beneficial to the practitioners.

It appears as one thing. To the savvy observer it’s really another.

3. Glenn Thrush of the New York Times on CNN, April 23, 2017.

On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Thrush said: “I never bought the shtick in the first place, that he hated the media.” The “slap and tickle” approach, as Thrush called it, has been standard operating procedure for Trump from the days when they were all coming up together in the New York tabloids: Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Donald Trump.

The experienced pros see through the bluster and show a sense of humor about it.

4. Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold of Politico April 23, 2017.

Trump’s Fake War on the Fake News. “The president puts on a big show of assaulting his ‘opposition’ in the news media. But inside the White House, it’s a different story.”

On the campaign trail, Trump called the press “dishonest” and “scum.” He defended Russian strongman Vladimir Putin against charges of murdering journalists and vowed to somehow “open up our libel laws” to weaken the First Amendment. Since taking office, he has dismissed unfavorable coverage as “fake news” and described the mainstream media as “the enemy of the American people…” Not since Richard Nixon has an American president been so hostile to the press— and Nixon largely limited his rants against the media to private venting with his aides.

But behind that theatrical assault, the Trump White House has turned into a kind of playground for the press… The great secret of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is that Trump’s war on the media is a phony one, a reality show that keeps his supporters fired up and distracted while he woos the constituency that really matters to him: journalists.

It’s a “playground” because starting with the man at the top they all care desperately about how they are depicted in the news media, because the different factions are always knifing each other by going to the press, because the leaking is like nothing anyone has seen before, and because they’re incompetent at almost everything they try to do.

5. Peter Baker, White House correspondent for the New York Times in Politico, Nov. 29, 2017.

“Every president to a greater or lesser degree is unhappy with the coverage, and has an adversarial relationship of sorts with the people who cover him every day, so that goes with the territory. This one happens to be more vocal about it,” Baker said. “Where I think we as reporters ought to be concerned is if that kind of sentiment is translated into tangible actions that restrict our ability to do our jobs.”

Trump is not so different from other presidents. Just louder.

6. Matt Yglesias, Vox.com, January 9, 2018.

Donald Trump’s phony war with the press, explained “A genuine — but mutually beneficial — antagonism.”

The marketing pitches [“Democracy dies in darkness”] underscore that in concrete dollars-and-cents terms, Trump has been very good to the mainstream news media — driving clicks, ratings, and subscriptions at a time when the broader economics of the industry have grown difficult, due to Facebook and Google hoovering up a rising share of advertising revenue… What matters to Trump isn’t any actual crushing of the media, but simply driving the narrative in his core followers’ heads that the media is at war with him. With that pretense in place, critical coverage and unflattering facts can be dismissed even as Trump selectively courts the press to inject his own preferred ideas into the mainstream.

The war is phony because both “combatants” get something from it.

7. Peter Baker, Feb. 21, 2018.

New York Times reporter on Trump’s media attacks: ‘It’s just theater’

“The people who say this has a broad impact on society and the credibility of the media and so forth and so on, I get their point,” said New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker at a Tuesday night event hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association. “I don’t dispute that. In terms of my job, worried about working as a reporter in the White House, it doesn’t have that much impact. I mean, it’s just theater.” Baker said he would get “more worked up” if the name-calling “leads to specific limitations on access or our ability to do our jobs.”

Note the comparisons: Theater. Professional wrestling. Tribal ritual.

Baker highlighted the gulf between Trump’s pronouncements about the media and his personal approach. When the president does his rallies, said Baker, he’ll blast the media and generally create an atmosphere of intimidation toward the people who cover him. On the plane ride home, Trump will say, ‘Hey, everybody, how’s it going? Everybody have a good time?’ He’s like the valet at his resort; he wants to make sure everybody’s having a good time,” recalled Baker.

“It’s like he’s two different people sometimes…”

8. John F. Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico, April 27, 2018 in conversation with James Bennet, editorial page editor at the New York Times.

Trump’s attack on the legitimacy of institutions including the free press— how seriously should we take it? There seem to be two schools of thought. One is that this is one of those historic moments where core values are under attack and that we’re going to be judged historically by how well we defend and vindicate those values, and that the Trump threat is serious. I think the other school is, “It’s just so much bluster and bullshit that’s not even meant by him to be taken seriously, and it really pales in comparison to places around the world where journalists actually are executed or opposition politicians are executed or jailed over these issues. So we shouldn’t delude ourselves that we’re really on the barricades of the front lines of freedom here in the United States.

Drama queens, inflating the threat so they can feel important.

Harris: In the news media context, I don’t think it’s an assault on democracy. Personally, I feel like Trump’s bombast is not meant to be taken seriously and not intended to be taken seriously even by him.

Bennet: You mean he doesn’t intend it to be an assault on journalism?

Harris: That’s right. And I don’t think journalists in this country face any real obstacles to our task of getting information and telling the truth as best we can ascertain it. I think it seems especially frivolous compared to lots of countries where there are real genuine obstacles—there’s government surveillance; there’s government censorship; there’s government punishment for challenging authority. And so, I think it makes us seem a little frivolous to be portraying ourselves on the front lines as though we’re freedom fighters.

9. Hiawatha Bray, a reporter for the Boston Globe business section, April 26, 2018, reacting to John Harris at my Facebook page.

So far, all Trump has done is utter a flood of dishonest and stupid insults, culminating in, well, nothing. This really is, so far, just a lot of noise. Sticks and stones, everybody. Call me back when they start slapping the cuffs on reporters. Till then, fasten your seat belts and remain calm.

So that’s the pattern I wanted to show you. What are we to make of it? First, the speakers in this post make valid points. Among them are:

* In Turkey journalists are being arrested. Independent media has been absorbed into the state. Nothing like that is happening in the U.S.

* Journalists can still report freely and publish what they find. As far as we know, Trump’s worst threats on that score have not materialized.

* The civic emergency created by Trump’s election has been good for the media business, and good for writers who wish to be read.

* Reporters on the White House beat find sources eager to talk and an almost unlimited supply of big, important stories to chase.

* Trump is desperate to be liked. He craves press attention. He is a media animal. These facts modify his public expressions of disdain for journalists.

I do not contest the truth of these observations. Journalists are right to point them out, and we should factor them into our understanding of events.

But I do dissent from the larger theme of a “phony war.” Something quite dangerous is happening. I have put my arguments for that proposition into an essay for New York Review of Books. You can read it here. It begins, “There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding.”

To my thoughts in that essay I would add a few headlines.

AP: “President Donald Trump’s campaign to discredit the news media has spread to officials at all levels of government, who are echoing his use of the term ‘fake news’ as a weapon against unflattering stories.”

All for show?

Buzzfeed reporter Anne Helen Peterson:

Spent the last 2 days at the Range Rights Conference in Modesto, CA, where Rep. Devin Nunes made a surprise appearance and told the crowd:

“The media that’s here, they’re here to mock you and call you a bunch of people in cowboy hats.”

“I think we need a free press, but 90% of publications are owned by hard left billionaires”

“The media is totally corrupt, if you don’t think 90% of the media is totally corrupt, you’re fooling yourself.”

What Nunes is doing there: akin to professional wrestling?

Axios, Dec. 10, 2017. How Trump is spreading the “fake news” virus around the world.

Politifact, Jan. 22, 2018 Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ epithet emboldens despots around the world.

CNN, Jan. 29, 2018 Asia’s strongmen follow Trump’s lead on fake news.

Just theater?

Last night at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, WHCA president Margaret Talev said: “We reject efforts by anyone, especially our elected leaders, to paint journalism as un-American, to undermine trust between reporter and reader.”

To undermine trust between reporter and reader is one thing Donald Trump definitely aims to do. Contrary to what Margaret Talev said, the journalists who speak in this post do not “reject” that project. Their response is cooler than that, more distanced. They are fixed on the irony of it all. Actually he loves reporters! He wants them to enjoy their time on Air Force One. He craves the attention too. Undermine trust? It’s just for show! Stop being so dramatic. He hasn’t put anyone in jail yet… has he?

38 Comments

Thornton Hall says:

If I am going to pay my hard earned money for a newspaper or magazine covering politics and I have a choice between one Ari Fleischer flatters and one he shows contempt for, I’ll take contempt.

Given a further choice between two papers, both of which Fleischer openly hates, I’ll take the one less savvy.

“There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding.” To the extent it is suceeding it will benefit others who will act, not Trump. It will benefit those who do want to exploit the vulnerability of a press more worried about being popular with their subjects than informative and fully truthful.

Thornton Hall says:

What would be funny: if we took seriously the efforts of the Post War media model to sell to both sides of the aisle by rejecting democracy and suggesting that everything important in life is *not* political. John Dewey forgotten a little more with each use of the word “politicize” as a slur against self government in order to put full page department store ads in front of both Republicans and Democrats.

What if the media didn’t report on President Trump’s every little outrage? What if he didn’t get what he craves, more publicity? Do you think he might change?

Christine Carrington says:

I have often thought the same thing. Trump rarely says anything of substance and often lies and reversed himself. He just loves the sound of his own voice and craves the attention. Only report on actions of importance.

Trump change? No. Don’t worry about what Trump thinks or says. Ignore the personality and report the news he is trying to obscure. Speak truth to the public, not the White House. The public, other than those in the Trump Cult, recognize truth. Media needs to stop analyzing Trump’s intent, we already know it is to discredit good journalism and support pundits like Hannity who have a vested interest in the success of the President’s hijacking the economy and skirting the norms to strip power away from agencies and Congress while concentrating the power and authority in the Oval Office.

If the media insists on translating Trump, then I urge them to watch the films and read the transcripts of 1930s Germany. Trump’s actions parallel Hitler’s rise to power. He dispensed with agencies and cultivated a rubber stamp parliament. Hitler was building empire, Trump wants to isolate America, but their “takeover strategies” are quite similar. Hitler surrounded himself with self-aggrandizing henchmen who pillaged, raped, and plundered their way to absolute rule. Trump has a Cabinet that is pillaging and plundering Govt agencies and some have engaged in sexual misconduct including POTUS. What were unacceptable actions/behaviors by anyone in these positions is now seen as the quasi-norm by many including Evangelicals. Many Pastors are leading their people away from Christian Commandments and morality to follow the Cult of Trump. The media should never acknowledge these behaviors as normal. The media should never accept the “translations” of Trump’s speeches and tweets provided by WH staff. Believe what you heard or what you read. The original speeches and original tweets contain the real goals of the President.
I hope this was not too rambling. Thank you.

Exactly! Trump supporters, especially including the Evangelicals, have fallen into the trap that doomed Germany in the 30s, believing “The Little Corporals” promises to “Make Germany Great Again” following WW I, embracing the end result, and not how the path he took to get them there, uniting the German people to ignoring his prosecution of minorities and certain religious groups.
Sad to see the Evangelicals rejecting the very teachings they claim are a foundation of their beliefs, they embrace and unconditionally supportTrump for his support of their political agendas.

Patty Quinn says:

I’m not a journalist or an academic. I’m a deeply concerned–alarmed, really–citizen trying to stay informed. I’ve read the argument that since DJT isn’t locking up journalists, isn’t holding show trials in kangaroo courts convicting them of fictitious crimes, this isn’t a big deal. My non-academic response is, Not yet he isn’t/they aren’t. I’ve read too many comments by people in places like Argentina and Venezuela who lived through despotic regimes where, today, they’re digging up mass graves–I’ve read too many of those comments to be complacent now. Too many of those people say that this is how it started. U.S. journalists are dismissive and complacent about DJT at our, and their, peril.

What’s going on with the press is pretty scary, and I, too, am very concerned. Normalizing this nut is not a good idea. Being oblivious to his deviousness is being obtuse.

Very well said. I am not afraid of Donald Trump I’m afraid of the next guy, if they are of low character but high intelligence, the rut DT made, will be perfect beginnings for the grand canyon coming. We can’t be stupid. It is up to We The People.

I’m afraid of the backlash that will occur when Dems take back Congress and start fixing some of the mess that Republicans made during their 8 years of control. The tax scam needs to be fixed, but some people love the slight increase in their paychecks. What if a deal with N Korea is still holding 2 years, and trump is attributing it to his brilliance? Will disgruntled voters rebel and revert to trump and republicans again in 2020? FOX and other right-wing media don’t seem to care about the good of the country; they just want Republicans in charge. They are very dangerous.

Independent media has been absorbed into the state. Nothing like that is happening in the U.S.

With respect, I would argue that the Sinclair takeover of Tribune is effectively this.

Sorry, I tried to blockquote that first sentence and it didn’t take. That is a quote from the original post.

Good point. And what happens in America won’t look exactly like what happened in other countries. Although, it might look a bit more like Russia, with an oligarchy of wealthy near/in government power. Arguably the pieces are already being moved into place for that.

Pris Robichaud says:

At first I felt sorry for the press, no longer, many have normalized trump, and play the victim at times. Ignoring trump is a good suggestion, we know what he is going to say. Sanders lies every day for him, don’t ask any questions of her, don’t go to the WH briefing. Sweet Baby Jesus on a cupcake, stop apologizing for our anger at what trump is doing.

Greg Bean says:

When one looks at the adherence by MSM to Western dogma in cases like the Skripal poisoning, Douma chemical weapons attack and reality of the White Helmets, and compare that to Alt-Media rejection of the dogma, one must conclude someone is lying.

The bias, MSM for dogma, Alt-Media against, is astonishingly consistent. And MSM maintains its stance regardless of evidence, which suggests they’re the liars.

So, in my view, Trump is exposing them and they’re too bought to realise their days are numbered. They will fade away through natural attrition. Against them, Trump wins. Alt-Media however, is being empowered and growing stronger, and they’re at risk of being locked up or crippled. Ex Julian Assange, RT. If that continues, Trump also wins in that segment.

The MSM needs to start acting like Alt-media and being critical before they’re completely irrelevant.

The study below clearly shows the bias.

‘Our upcoming #ICWSM18 paper, Ecosystem or Echo-System? Exploring Content Sharing across Alternative Media Domains, examines the media ecosystem around Twitter conversations (including supporting & undermining narratives) about the “White Helmets” in Syria’

http://faculty.washington.edu/kstarbi/Starbird-et-al-ICWSM-2018-Echosystem-final.pdf

Anonymous says:

Excuse me, but how did you get from “someone is lying” to “only one side is lying”?

Greg Bean says:

“And MSM maintains its stance regardless of evidence, which suggests they’re the liars.”

Seems obvious, unless you’re religious, and then it’s called having faith, another word for lying.

Roxanne Lyn Cody says:

This is a dangerous time to be alive in America, mainly, because the MSM refuses to acknowledge any real threats to all of us. FFS REAL media ppl have been attacked PHYSICALLY because TRUMP goaded them into VIOLENCE, & still they print stories that treat it like a game. Name another politician that did this in U.S. history & it was just casually ignored? I blame privilege, because no matter what happens, white straight men, the patriarchy, are convinced they will unharmed overall. They have consistently ignored the voices of everyone NOT a straight white, male for decades but now it’s pandemic, because TRUMP says on camera it’s NO BIG DEAL, & because you’re 1 of the boys, too you’re inclined to believe him & play ALONG at the expense of an entire country being destroyed

D.D. Boyle says:

Please see 9/22/2017 Political-Law: The Media’s Unrelenting Bias Against Trump, by Dan Backer.

Very enlightening viewpoints that are more applicable now than when they were written.

And, of course, Harvard Kennedy School / Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Negative coverage =/= “bias.” Trump himself generates the bulk of negative coverage of him and his administration through his words and actions.

For example, his mendacity is unrelenting and unprecedented. Pointing out his many lies results in “negative” coverage. How exactly would “balanced” coverage of that phenomenon look like? Pretend that it’s normal? Point out when some other politician told a lie? Insist that his lies aren’t really lies? Make up shit about HRC, Obama et al so it seems they are just as bad, or worse. That kind of coverage is actually biased because it distorts reality with false balance.

And of course many times getting a negative reaction is Trump’s goal. It’s how he whips up hatred of the people and institutions that check his power, and how he tries to play the victim even as he is the bully. His followers love it because they, like him, want to see their enemies punished and they, like him, wallow in self-victimology.

The MSM seems willfully unaware of the fact that constantly harping on the threat Trump ostensibly poses to freedom of the press is just another facet of the MSM’s all-out war on Trump and, not so incidentally, on the deplorables who support his policies. In the real world the MSM in this country is not only un-threatened, it’s peopled by insufferably smug and grotesquely overpaid agents of a leftist political agenda who operate on the assumption that our constitutional form of government (having propelled Trump into office) must be grossly defective and in need of reduced influence. It is these snooty prima-donnas who are posing a threat — to our political freedoms.

This comment is detached from objective reality.

If left is in charge, why are right wing rethuglucans polluting /raping the planet. Why do 50% of USA n virtually all congress reject science n believe the msm is left when they are at most middle of the road. Check out Mother Jones

Mark J. McPherson says:

This attitude accepts Trump’s premises, best-case, least harmfully, that it’s all a game, something essentially trivial that can be played with without real impact. If that’s so, then there is something false about carrying on about “the Fourth Estate”, the First Amendment, protecting sources, the role of the press in a democracy . . . . And if all that really doesn’t matter, what about the rest of our institutions under attack? Should we be laughing that off as well? The price of liberty is indifference?

I had an interesting Twitter exchange last night with a Washington Post reporter, Scott Wilson, who is based in California for the Post. He started by advising me that almost no one cares about the White House Correspondent Association mess:

Scott Wilson: “How about the fact that there are literally 350 million Americans who could not care less about this debate, a single night in Washington, or almost anything else Twitter Washington cares about. I hope you spend less than 5 mins talking about this in your prestigious lectures.”

Jay Rosen: “Thanks, Scott. Here’s my latest piece. ‘There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding.'” http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/04/25/why-trump-is-winning-and-the-press-is-losing/

Scott Wilson: “Thanks, Jay. And I disagree – the campaign is in Washington, not alive in the land. As someone who is in California a lot now, urban and rural, I have never felt more respect for what @washingtonpost is doing. I hear it all the time. And am surprised.”

Jay Rosen: [quote tweet] “Washington Post reporter disputing that Trump’s hate movement against the press has resonance outside DC.”

Scott Wilson: [quote tweet] ? (that was the whole reply, a question mark.)

Good God. If the takeover of the press is a fever dream outside of DC, why does Sinclair own 75% of rural TV news stations?

Mimi Stratton says:

We should have never let that happen.

The press on their comfortable perches (not Jay Rosen!) seem all too happy to miss the key point. It’s about *control*. It’s not about whether the controlling hand wears a velvet glove.

It doesn’t elsewhere. It does in the US. That’s just a minor detail showing that, either way, you’re no longer on the spectrum that includes a free press.

The Peter Baker quote that begins “Every President to a greater or lesser degree…” shows us how much this problem at the NYT derives from adhering to a standard practice of false balance. Instead of observing and reporting patterns of Trump’s behavior and drawing sensible conclusions, reporters who practice false balance look for similarities to former presidents, especially those of the opposing party. If they find even one similar example, their work is done. Baker does not even see that his conclusion that differences are “only a matter of degree” is an inevitable by-product of his flawed journalistic method. A logical extension of this journalistic practice is to draw the least alarming conclusions about the president under the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard normally applied in a criminal trial. And so, this president has not committed any crimes until Mueller finds him guilty. Meanwhile, strict news reporting often ignores what a truly unbiased “preponderance of the evidence” standard would yield.

I am reminded of the days leading up to the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Reporters briefed by “senior government officials” were told that Saddam Hussein was “saber rattling”. News reporting at the time, at the NYT and other outlets, tended to accept the Bush administration depiction. Sure, that intelligence assessment might have been accurate, but simple common sense suggests that gradually amassing up to 100,000 troops and all of the necessary weapons of war along the border of a small country rich in oil is the logical first step to a rapid strike. Within days, reporters faulted the Bush administration for being surprised by the invasion of Kuwait. But reporters missed plenty of obvious signs from evidence in the public domain right under their noses. If you wait for U.S. journalists to be imprisoned – or banned from access using less alarming means – it is too late.

I agree: the “only a matter of degree” argument by Peter Baker is a tell. If there’s ever been a president qualitatively or “order of magnitude” different from the others, Republican and Democrat, that man is Donald Trump. It’s revealing that Baker has convinced himself that Trump can be placed upon a continuum of presidents. For if that is so, then he can continue the practices for covering presidents that he specializes in.

Thornton Hall says:

Do you see the faulty syllogism you’ve set up:

1. Savvy journos say Trump isn’t *really* a threat to freedom of the press.
2. Savvy journos are wrong when demonstrating their savvy ness.
3. Therefore Trump is a threat to freedom of the press.

As a former criminal defense attorney all I can say is: rich white privilege.

The news media that most people are exposed to consists of city TV stations broadcasting pictures of people accused of crimes to viewers who live more than half an hour drive from the city. The media relentlessly attacks the freedom of the accused and everyone else in their neighborhoods.

Does that mean we are about to lock up the whole country? Are we on the verge of becoming a police state? No. Because, thank god, actual freedom is protected by Amendments 4, 5, and 6, not 1.

What is Trump going to do? Nationalize Comcast? The “free press” is operated by some of the most powerful corporations in the history of planet Earth. And they in turn are protected by a couple of very simple rules like “no prior restraint” that are under zero threat. Citizens United is just the most famous way that the First Amendment is getting bigger all the time.

A well brought up white person does not savvily dismiss the power of the cops. But neither does he pretend like *he’s* about to go to jail. The world would be a better place if Peter Baker ceased to exist, but his continued existence proves nothing about press freedom.

I didn’t say he was a threat to freedom of the press. My post explicitly states that threat had not materialized. It’s in the sentence that reads, “Journalists can still report freely and publish what they find. As far as we know, Trump’s worst threats on that score have not materialized.” I said there is a campaign to discredit the press and shout down its stories and it is being led by the president.

So this summary….

1. Savvy journos say Trump isn’t *really* a threat to freedom of the press.
2. Savvy journos are wrong when demonstrating their savvy ness.
3. Therefore Trump is a threat to freedom of the press.

… is made up. It’s fiction. Also fatuous.

Conversation with a local reporter on Twitter: Aaron Davis, reporter for the East Bay Times.

Jay Rosen: For two years I have been tracking a speech pattern among American journalists, in which they try to explain to us — and perhaps to themselves — why Trump’s campaign to discredit them is not what it seems, why it’s no big deal.

Aaron Davis: Trump may have lifted the national media but that is not the same locally. The daily invectives engender distrust, broadly, for all media, whether we are reporting from the rose garden or from a council meeting. it impacts interviews, subscribers, etc. I wish they understood that.

Jay Rosen: They don’t understand it. They think it’s all bluster. And by seeing through that bluster, they think they are being savvy, skeptical, cool-headed, realistic, etc.

Aaron Davis: i guess they’ve forgotten (or never knew) how local media does it. cold calls and walk-and-knocks are much harder now. “the biased fake media” will twist your words about the new housing development. this impacts us at the local level. the ones who gather the news.

Mimi Stratton says:

To John F. Harris, Politico: Good to know we need not depend upon you in an actual emergency. Frankly, I’m not sure we know what Trump might try if he were really unleashed. Or, God forbid, the next Trump. Harris, you sound very complacent to me.

Aidan West says:

The “two schools” framework here is a false dichotomy. It’s also an uninteresting framework that yields little more than picking a side in a debate as it’s already framed within the media.

Pris Robichaud says:

To all these journalists who think trump is all bluster, I ask, ‘Do You talk with us, the people, out here, in the hinterlands?’ Many of our colleagues, friends, family, firmly believe the press is the enemy. Trump has won, the public distrusts you, and yet, you do nothing to dissuade us. The press has become reactive, and not proactive, and that is the beginning of a lost battle. Wake up!

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