Disclaimer: This is quite long but does counter the points in the source article. In essence, it is highlighting a liberal journalists almost hostile sarcastic rant on journalism in the coming Trump administration. Basically, the liberal news media is going to reengage in investigative reporting in a hostile manner during the Trump administration after eight years of giving the Obama administration a pass.
For the past eight years, citizens have watched as the lamestream enemedia, coupled with the liberal “journalists,” basically gave Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Democrats a pass on holding politicians and elected officials accountable. Their journalistic talents served up a mouth watering buffet of praise and soft-balling of issues, making sure to tread carefully on their “golden boys.” Now that Obama is headed out the door, one liberal journalist is looking forward to “sticking it to The Donald” by covering Washington, DC, like a war zone.
Jack Shafer’s article, Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again, at Politico is filled with disdain and not so subtle jabs at alternative media. Taking Shafer’s article paragraph by paragraph, it will hopefully show the hypocrisy permeating through mostly liberal mainstream news outlets.
Donald Trump and his forthcoming presidency may be the greatest gift to Washington journalism since the invention of the expense account. His unorthodox approach to politics and governance has vaporized the standard, useful, yet boring script for reporting on a new administration’s doings. At his news conference last week, Trump began the process of washing the press completely out of his fake hair as he castigated CNN and BuzzFeed for reporting on the oppo-research dossier compiled on him. “Fake news,” said the man who has appeared on InfoWars and commended the outlet’s efforts.
Shafer does not make the connection between many citizens ditching mainstream news media outlets for alternative news media. During the eight year Obama reign, news agencies and reporters have refused to hold accountable the administration for their numerous infractions and scandals. With only six corporations owning 98% of the mainstream outlets, the news is the same on every channel mostly with the same wording. And, sites such as Breitbart and Infowars began receiving large audiences looking for news that held politicians accountable. And, when Obama was castigating Fox News for eight years, Shafer was nowhere to be found in his admonishment of the “emperor” for doing so. Trump reached out to alternative media, like Infowars, to tap into an audience long forgotten by mainstream news, the Obama administration, and Shafer himself. It was an ingenious move by Trump to reach additional voters. And, why shouldn’t a candidate for president tap into alternative media and its growing audience who gets their news solely from those outlets?
Trump’s surrogate Newt Gingrich took to Sean Hannity’s program on Fox to assist in the maiming of the media. Trump and his team “need to go out there and understand they have it in their power to set the terms of this dialogue,” Gingrich said on the Jan. 11 episode. “They can close down the elite press.” Next up came Reince Priebus’ announcement that Trump might evict the presidential press corps from the White House for lesser lodging in the adjacent Old Executive Office Building, and Sean Spicer’s admonition that reporters “adhere to a high level of decorum at press briefings and press conferences,” according to a readout of his two-hour summit with the head of the White House Correspondents’ Association. (Or else what, one wonders?)
While many have accused me and others that blog and/or write for alterative media outlets of using disparaging terms (someone called me out for using the term “Silicone Barbies” when referring to some female news reporters), Shafer views Gingrich as a surrogate for Trump, which is disparaging; but, so what. The gist of Shafer’s rant is feeling as though the presidential press corps is being “evicted” from the White House to less prestigious surroundings. In fact, Trump has made it clear that he would like to see journalists/reporters from the alternative media to be included in White House press conferences, meaning the current venue would not hold all the press. Instead of spending taxpayer funds to enlarge the White House press room, Trump’s solution is to relocate to a larger space. One would think saving taxpayer dollars would be a good thing. Shafer also appears to be upset at having to “adhere to a high level of decorum at press briefings and press conferences.” After eight years of handing questions to the “emperor” so he could pick and choose and playing nice or the “emperor” wouldn’t entertain the organizations for questions or interviews, Shafer should see this as perpetuation of the behavior in which he has engaged in the last eight years.
Now, before the Committee to Protect Journalists throws up the batsign and the rest of us bemoan Trump’s actions as anti-press—which they are—let’s thank the incoming president for simplifying our mission. If Trump’s idea of a news conference is to spank the press, if his lieutenants believe the press needs shutting down, if his chief of staff wants to speculate about moving the White House press scrum off the premises, perhaps reporters ought to take the hint and prepare to cover his administration on their own terms. Instead of relying exclusively on the traditional skills of political reporting, the carriers of press cards ought to start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death.
As the sour grapes continue, he suggests the press play “tank and spank” with Trump, covering the capitol like a war zone, “where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death.” Pardon me, while I laugh for a bit. This is the exact description of the Obama administration, the Clinton State Department, and every department and agency in Washington, DC, for the last eight years. The “emperor’s” administration has been the least transparent of any in history. Shafer and other liberal mouthpieces of the “emperor” have had little problem swallowing whatever slop they were given. Scandal after scandal in the Obama administration barely registered a blip on their radar. When it did, it was played off as “phony.” In fact, the liberal mainstream media was complicit in peddling the continual lies of the administration and rarely deeply investigated any semblance of wrong-doing. The media engaged in sycophantic idolatry of the Obama administration by repeating talking points and helping deceive the public. The press refused to engage in holding government or Obama accountable; however, the liberal mouthpieces are now ready to “wage war” in opposition to the new administration when it should have been doing its job for the past eight years.
In his own way, Trump has set us free. Reporters must treat Inauguration Day as a kind of Liberation Day to explore news outside the usual Washington circles. He has been explicit in his disdain for the press and his dislike for press conferences, prickly to the nth degree about being challenged and known for his vindictive way with those who cross him. So, forget about the White House press room. It’s time to circle behind enemy lines.
Yes, in a way, Trump has set the press free. It was often intimated that unless reporters played nice with Obama on Obama’s terms, he would not give them the time of day. What a way to control the media. If anyone is know for vindictiveness, it is Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah. Targeting conservative groups using the Internal Revenue Service. Closing the open air World War II memorials during the shut-down preventing veterans from visiting the memorial they helped to build. Closing the White House to visitor tours for the first time in history. All of this to punish Republicans for opposing him and his rule. And, if anyone was prickly about the press, it was Obama in setting the terms in which he would interact with the press or wouldn’t at all if his rules were not followed to the tee.
Washington reporting has long depended on a transactional relationship between sources and journalists. Journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context. But Trump’s hostile attitude toward the press, his dismissal of CNN for attempting to ask a question at the last conference, and his underhanded ploy at the last conference where he loaded the audience with cheerleaders has muted that mutualism. It’s easy to predict that instead of negotiating with reporters as equals, his administration will advance its agenda by feeding more pliant reporters material the way a trainer rewards circus animals.
Those sour grapes have turned to vinegar because this is exactly the description of what occurred under the Obama administration with the press. It is why Fox News and its reporters, along with reporters like James Rosen, were treated poorly and unfairly. Where was Shafer in calling out the Obama administration for its treatment of the Associated Press and James Rosen? Nowhere. As a liberal press mouthpiece Obama sycophant, Shafer was busy flying backwards and sucking Obama’s bum for a morning glory.
The press has already started to prepare itself for such a Trumpian lockout by pursuing news angles that rely less on official access than usual. At the Washington Post, the newspaper has assembled a team that includes the much-lauded foundation-buster David Fahrenthold to investigate Trump’s business dealings and conflicts of interest and potential violations of the Emoluments Clause. The Wall Street Journal just explored how Trump’s debt to more than 150 financial institutions (more than $1.5 billion than he has admitted to in disclosure forms) may create potential conflicts of interest for him.
Where was all this investigation on Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation when she was Secretary of State? Where was all this investigation into Obama’s background, which amounts to almost nil, and his fraudulent birth certificate and fraudulent Social Security number? Obama, Clinton, and liberal Democrats got a pass by liberal media.
Opportunities to ignore the White House minders and investigate Trump announce themselves almost daily. For instance, the load-bearing walls of the Office of Government Ethics are groaning with the weight of filings by his appointees, as the New York Times reported earlier this month. Trump has installed the “wealthiest cabinet in modern American history,” the Times says. Its website has already crashed from public queries and the OGE director has denounced the Trump plan to avoid conflict of interest as “wholly inadequate.” Reporters will be mining these forms for months and producing damaging results without any Trump administration confirmation or cooperation.
Where was Mr. Shafer when Obama filled government positions with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a known terrorist group? Muslim Brotherhood members have held positions granting them access to government secrets. Yet, this is not a problem for the sycophantic Shafer; however, wealthy cabinet members are. Hillary Clinton’s husband was in charge of the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative during her tenure as Secretary of State, with Chelsea also taking a lead role. It was discovered through investigation that Clinton operated a “pay to play” scheme that enriched her through the family foundation and compromised the united States. Where was liberal presstitute Shafer in holding Hillary accountable? Where was any liberal mainstream news outlet in holding Hillary accountable?
As Trump shuts down White House access to reporters, they will infest the departments and agencies around town that the president has peeved. The intelligence establishment, which Trump has deprecated over the issue of Russian hacking, owes him no favors and less respect. It will be in their institutional interest to leak damaging material on Trump. The same applies to other bureaucracies. Will a life-long EPA employ take retirement knowing he won’t be replaced, or if he is, by somebody who will take policy in a direction he deplores? Such an employee could be a fine source. Trump, remember, will only be president, not emperor, and as such subject to all the passive-aggressive magic a bureaucracy can produce. Ditto the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI, and even conventionally newsless outposts like Transportation and Labor.
So far, Trump has not shut down White House access to reporters. The space needs to be larger to accommodate journalists/reporters from the alternative media to keep more citizens abreast of government operations. And, when it comes to the intelligence community, it has lost all credibility and respect with citizens as it violates the Fourth and Ninth Amendments at the behest of Bush and Obama, with a complicit Congress. It’s almost a contradiction in terms to call some of these agencies “the intelligence community.” The FBI found violation of law against Clinton but no prosecution will be done. The Central Intelligence Agency, a definite contradiction in terms, headed by Muslim John Brennan, missed numerous “terrorist threats” resulting in attacks on US soil. Now, Shafer calls for employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (another contradiction in terms) to counter Trump if policy goes in a direction “he deplores.” Yet, anyone contradicting Obama was ostracized, criticized, maligned, patronized and humiliated. While the liberal press treated Obama like an “emperor,” even calling for his unilateral unconstitutional actions, the tune is different now with Trump “only president, not emperor.” My how things change when some don’t get their way. If there is a better example of “all the passive-aggressive magic a bureaucracy can produce,” it has occurred under the Obama administration in the never-ending numerous congressional hearings surrounding the scandals occurring in a “no scandal” administration.
A probe in Monday’s Post reveals a tangle of potential regulatory conflicts for Trump at HUD, the FAA, Labor, the Trademark Office and the EPA more twisting and knotted than 10 pounds of thin spaghetti cooling in a colander. Trump’s decision to transfer control of his business to his sons has created, in the words of Axios reporter Mike Allen, “a story that will never go away.” Giant servings will be available to every reporter who lines up to place an order.
Trump has traveled the world for 40 years, leaving a trail—sometimes just a faint one—of his deal-making. BuzzFeed just visualized “Trumpworld,” their word for his “giant network of businesses, investments, and corporate connections” as a computer diagram drawing the connections among his family, Cabinet picks, and advisers. Now containing 1,500 people and organizations, the BuzzFeed diagram will grow as readers and others add to the data set. Future stories abound in the grid BuzzFeed has laid down. The Post deserves commendation for its Sunday package about Trump’s entangling foreign alliances.
Where was this concern over “alliances” with Obama and his connection to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers? Where was this concern when Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia? There had to be some alliance between the two since no president has postured that way in the past. Where was the interest in the “connections” surrounding Obama, his community organizing activities, his “law practice,” cabinet picks, handler Valerie Jarrett, and so on and so forth? Again, liberal presstitutes couldn’t care less since they had already received their marching orders. If the Post deserves a commendation for the package on Sunday, the collective alternative media deserves a commendation for highlighting, covering and in many cases, exposing the unlawful, unconstitutional, impeachable offenses of Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah.
And then there are Trump’s enemies in his own party, people like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who similarly wish him no good. Scratch a dozen Republicans, and you’ll find a few Trump rats. McCain, it’s worth noting, alerted FBI Director James Comey to Trump’s alleged Russian entanglements in early December. Capitol Hill could further assist reporters with leaks that burn Trump. It’s not unthinkable that Senate leaders like McCain will use his awesome subpoena power to investigate the president. Even Trump’s allies can’t be completely trusted. Being a Trump ally is a treacherous business—just ask Chris Christie. And as a spate of stories noted this week, not all of the Trump appointees reside completely on his page. Like predecessors in previous administrations, some of them will leak at crucial times to preserve their interests. They can and will be cultivated by reporters.
McCain is, has been and always will be a RINO looking to take down anyone who isn’t Obama. Graham is the same. Both would sell their own mother if they thought it would advance them politically and/or line their pockets. Citing Trump’s appointees as not “residing completely on his page,” Shafer sounds as though he believes that a bad thing. But, should not individuals in the president’s cabinet and department heads be willing to give the man differing opinions? Obama had all “yes” men and look where that got this republic. In fact, more individuals in Congress and the Obama administration should have been giving differing opinions. The reason they were all “yes men” is because of threat of removal. Since Shafer is ecstatic on the “awesome subpoena power” of McCain to investigate the president, he should be equally ecstatic if the same happens to Obama. But, he won’t since he is a die hard liberal Obama sycophant to the detriment of his profession and this republic. And, the operations of government should be transparent and open for the public to see, meaning reporters should be investigating and relaying the information to the public. Unfortunately, Shafer and his ilk were too busy donning those rhinestone sunglasses to keep up with the “rock star” out-going president.
Consider the Nixon administration, which presented an anti-press posture akin to Trump’s, sending Vice President Spiro Agnew to give speeches designed to delegitimize journalists. Nixon also fought with the press by seeking to block the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. This proved a disaster. In his book, Poisoning the Press, Mark Feldstein quotes Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg on the course-change navigated by the top newspapers in the wake of Nixon’s reaction. “A newspaper industry that for thirty years and more had been living happily … on government handouts was suddenly in widespread revolt,” Ellsberg commented. “One paper after another was clamoring for its chance, not just to get a piece of a story but to step across the line into radical civil disobedience.”
It would appear the Obama administration was not far behind the Nixon administration in its “government handouts” to the press. Obama was never “pro-press” unless it was a press who played by his rules or he would not allow reporters access. Reporters and news outlets were willing to “sell out” to the demands of Obama, an anti-press official as evidenced by his strict rules for the press. It was the liberal sycophantic press that went along resulting in the “lamestream enemedia” the US harbors today.
Like Nixon, Trump may have won a sizeable audience with his anti-press frothings. But he remains unpopular with at least half of the nation, and they constitute an eager audience for critical reporting. Somebody could remind Gingrich that it’s much harder to shut down readers and viewers than it is a segment of the media. The harder Trump rides the press—and he gives no sign of dismounting—the higher he elevates reporters in the estimation of many voters. Witness how many publications are selling subscriptions by promising to “hold Trump accountable.”
Obama had plenty of “anti-press frothings” when it came to Fox News, which video proves time and again. Obama was “unpopular with at least half of the nation, and they constituted an eager audience for critical reporting.” Alas, half the nation was disappointed by the “press” in their reporting of Obama and his administration. Unfortunately, the press has sunk to new lows for many in the republic, hence the popularity of alternative news media. Many in the republic were discounted as being marginal by the press who catered to the liberal sycophantic mindset, forgetting about many in the nation that would rise up to vote. And, every president, branch of government, and government agency/department needs to be held accountable to the public, which the press has the responsibility to help ensure. But, the press, speaking of mainstream, was all too eager to gloss over wrong-doing of government and the president for the last eight years.
In a widely read and insightful year-end piece that I urge you to read, press scholar Jay Rosen surveyed the scene and predicted that “winter is coming” for the American press under Trump. Many of the shots Rosen takes hit the target. But as a forecaster he’s no groundhog.
It’s not winter that’s coming with the inauguration of Trump. It’s journalistic spring.
Now, many of us bloggers and citizen journalists may not be “press scholars” but we do know bull manure when we hear it. Instead of the sniffling diatribe on how mainstream liberal press will now return to being the “fourth branch” to hold government accountable, the presstitutes should have never deviated from that role from the outset of the Obama administration. The past eight years have been a “journalistic spring” for the alternative media and independent bloggers and information gatherers thanks to the willingness of the mainstream media to sell out to liberal sycophantic vitriolic revolutionaries at the expense of the rest of the republic. The mainstream media has lost the public trust by comprising their integrity. Trust, once lost, is difficult to regain. And, in the zeal to regain that trust through aggressive, hostile actions, as the tone of Shafer’s article suggests, the press can once again go too far with a public who is skeptical about giving it another chance. With vitriol such as Shafer’s, the previously ignored demographic is less likely to give mainstream a fair shake. As the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”