Thursday, January 19, 2017

Media to Trump: Game on

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 4:23 PM

click to enlarge This is a graphic reminder of the size of the media industry that has been and will continue to cover Donald Trump. This is just one section of a warehouse north of Denver where The Denver Post and many other newspapers are published, including the Independent. Rolls of paper are brought in by rail car. That's Indy founder and chairman John Weiss in the middle. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This is a graphic reminder of the size of the media industry that has been and will continue to cover Donald Trump. This is just one section of a warehouse north of Denver where The Denver Post and many other newspapers are published, including the Independent. Rolls of paper are brought in by rail car. That's Indy founder and chairman John Weiss in the middle.

Journalists aren't too keen on being pushed around, so two groups of news media have authored letters to Donald Trump, who becomes the nation's 45th president on Friday.

The first is from Columbia Journalism Review, which states, in part:
In these final days before your inauguration, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps.

It will come as no surprise to you that we see the relationship as strained. Reports over the last few days that your press secretary is considering pulling news media offices out of the White House are the latest in a pattern of behavior that has persisted throughout the campaign: You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialized. You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences. You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability.

All of this, of course, is your choice and, in a way, your right. While the Constitution protects the freedom of the press, it doesn’t dictate how the president must honor that; regular press conferences aren’t enshrined in the document.

But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too. It is, after all, our airtime and column inches that you are seeking to influence. We, not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers. So think of what follows as a backgrounder on what to expect from us over the next four years. 
To finish reading the letter, reference the link above. It's really worth the time.

In addition, the Society of Professional Journalists issued a letter to Trump, which includes this:
Our Founding Fathers knew the importance of a press that is free to
report on the activities of our government and elected officials. “Our
liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited
without being lost,” said Thomas Jefferson in a January 28, 1786, letter.
Yet here we are, almost exactly 231 years after Jefferson wrote those
words, and attempts to stifle the flow of information to citizens of the
United States continue. 
SPJ asks for a meeting with Trump, saying, "We would like to have a conversation regarding how we can work together to ensure that self-government as outlined by the Constitution survives and flourishes, and that a free press remains a cornerstone of our nation and our liberty."

I don't know whether SPJ has been asleep for the last year or what, but can anyone imagine Trump saying, "Okey dokey, let's sit down and discuss this like adults"? Not gonna happen.

In fact, while I appreciate SPJ's earnestness, some lines in the letter are laughable, considering who they're writing to. Like this one, "We urge you to publicly affirm your commitment to transparency..."

Wait. This is the guy who still hasn't released his tax returns and won't. So, all we can say is good luck with that.

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