Let’s face facts: The mainstream media and President-elect Donald Trump aren’t exactly close friends. When you cover a candidate so viciously that his supporters are chanting “CNN sucks!” during a rally, you know that there’s a bit of animosity there.
However, after Trump was elected president, the media assumed that the new boss would be the same as the old boss, even though they’d treated the old boss with such veneration you would have thought he was a saint’s relic and the media was a small Italian village’s yearly festival.
So imagine their shock when Trump broke longstanding protocol and did not invite the media to travel with him for his first meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.
“Trump on Thursday refused to allow journalists to travel with him to Washington for his historic first meetings with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. The Republican’s top advisers rebuffed news organizations’ requests for a small ‘pool’ of journalists to trail him as he attended the meetings,” The Associated Press reported.
As a wire service, the AP is supposed to be as dry and objective as journalism gets. However, their article on the snub was about two notches on the infuriation scale away from a college sophomore’s essay titled “Bernie Sanders: Greatest American or Greatestest American?”
“When Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory telegram to Trump on Wednesday, Moscow spread the word. A phone call with British Prime Minster Theresa May was announced in London. The pattern was repeated for calls with leaders of Israel, Egypt, South Korea and Australia,” the article read.
“The White House typically releases statements on the president’s phone calls with foreign leaders, providing some details about the conversation. Past presidents-elect have had early briefings with journalists, even in confusing first hours after Election Day.”
“But early signs suggest Trump is willing to break protocol when it comes to press access and transparency.”
Let’s start with that last line and work our way back. If Barack Obama is “protocol” when it comes to press access, the media are already looking up at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to transparency. Let’s not forget that this is a White House that kept from the media important details of the Iran deal and Obamacare that Americans very much needed to know.
For that matter, it’s not as if the alternative to President-elect Trump was that much better. The only reason there was any transparency involved in Secretary Clinton’s campaign is because John Podesta wasn’t intelligent enough not to give his username and password to a bit.ly hacker site.
So Trump didn’t want The Associated Press or NBC riding on the plane with him. This makes him less transparent than Vladimir Putin? All because they missed the opportunity to file a story with the headline “President-elect Trump insults the sovereign hand of God; evil billionaire slips surly bounds of earth in blasphemous flying machine“?
Donald Trump will have a great relationship with the media. The greatest. It will be yuge. But in the aftermath of his victory, perhaps he wanted to keep the plane ride private and for people on the campaign — you know, the ones the media have been calling bigots, hacks, liars and unelectable since June of 2015.
This does not mean we are on the verge of Stalinist purges. It simply means you weren’t invited on the damned plane.
Get over yourselves.
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