Loading...
BYH to folks that don’t move over or get out of the way for emergency vehicles. One day it might be your relative they...

Trump's attitude toward media threatens democracy

Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during the 37th annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Loading…

Friday, May 18, 2018

When he was running for office, President Trump was a fan, in theory, at least, of the regularized, semi-formal politician-reporter scrum known as the press conference.

He tweeted to his followers on June 6, 2016: “Crooked Hillary Clinton has not held a news conference in more than 7 months. Her record is so bad she is unable to answer tough questions!”

In politics, as in everything else, there is the theory and there is the practice. As president, Trump has been almost entirely unable to walk his talk about facing tough questions — or softballs — from the media, whose scribes in turn report back to Americans the answers to their questions and the mood inside the room.

His first, and last, press conference as president was held a few weeks after his inauguration in January 2017. Since then, while he has indeed shouted out a few comments while walking toward his helicopter and responds sometimes to queries in what are called “gaggles” — spur-of-the-moment interactions with the small rotating press pool that follows him around and reports back to other news organizations — he has never met with reporters in an open session.

Having held just one press conference in his presidency sets a record for contemporary times going back at least to Lyndon Johnson’s administration. By a year into their presidencies, President George W. Bush had held five solo press conferences, and President Barack Obama had held 11.

Times change — and how — and no president is under any actual obligation to meet with members of the press, no matter how good an idea those of us in the media think having an open conversation in person rather than through subordinates or electronic devices might be.

But it is absurd to contend, as deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters did recently to The Daily Beast, that “The president and his administration have been one of the accessible administrations,” or that the notion that Trump “engages daily with the American people” — presumably through his Twitter account — is anything like a substitute for answering real questions from real reporters.

Contrary to received opinion from those not in the business, good relations with the press are not about the politics, as such, of a chief executive. Reporters, for instance, did not have a warm relationship with Barack Obama, who they found overly guarded and more than a bit of a mandarin.

Of course, the press has reason to be careful about what we wish for when it comes to White House news conferences. At the one such session the president has held, on Feb. 16, 2017, Trump lashed out at what he again called “fake news” in the media.

“Tomorrow, they will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.‘ I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people.”

What in the world does the president — whose entire business career has been based on cultivating reporters to tell his stories — mean by repeatedly biting the hand that has always fed him?

Well, a question such as that is just what reporters could ask if he were to meet the press just as other presidents have. Instead, Trump again last week asked a question that is so very evidently wrong in its basic assumption: “Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt?” Work so hard in what way? And he followed that rhetorical question with another, suggesting that he would rather the question-askers just disappear: “Take away credentials?”

Not a presidential hypothetical that bodes well for a healthy democracy.

The Orange County, California, Register

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

November 14, 2018

Members of the N.C. General Assembly will get some legislative exercise to help burn off their Thanksgiving calories this year, returning to Raleigh for a late-November special session that will, among other things, write the rules for the state’s newly enacted constitutional requirement for…

Voter ID Lawsuit

November 13, 2018

Anita Earls, who was elected Tuesday to a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court, ought to be happy that legislative Republicans apparently spend so much time reading Niccolo Machiavelli’s 16th century treatise on power, “The Prince.”

Machiavelli urged a style of cunning political…

Supreme Court Earls

November 10, 2018

The Democrats’ return to control over the House of Representatives is much more than a victory for one party. It is a sign of health for American democracy.

Distrustful of untrammeled majorities, the authors of the Constitution favored checks and balances, including, crucially, the check that…

Election 2018 Trump

November 09, 2018

With the courts and Trump Administration rolling back federal climate regulation, green activists have turned to the states. But there’s a troubling ethical twist: Instead of merely lobbying, activists are placing employees in Attorneys General offices in dubious private-public condominiums.…

November 04, 2018

President Trump’s assertion on Tuesday that he could end birthright citizenship via an executive order likely is another attempt to stir up immigration as a campaign issue ahead of next week’s midterm election.

It’s a bad and almost certainly unconstitutional idea, and had the…

AP Explains Birthright Citizenship-2

November 04, 2018

Pitt County is fortunate to have a ballot full of fine candidates running for elected office on Tuesday. Women and men have put their names forth to produce contested races for almost every seat. The races offer contrasts in style, personality and direction.

The Daily Reflector has reported on the…

November 02, 2018

It’s natural to think of worst case scenarios when such a scenario is right before your eyes. So it was Monday when authorities said a Butler High School student was shot and killed by another student during a dispute in a school hallway. The death appeared to be the first fatal shooting…

North Carolina School Shooting-3

October 31, 2018

Children in North Carolina aren’t learning to read fast enough or well enough. The state has invested millions. Hands are wringing, and heads are hitting hard against the wall. “Success” can’t be claimed if a third-grader can’t read the word and know what it means.

And…

101518aydenm

October 30, 2018

The United States has been a beacon of hope for people who are poor, mistreated or persecuted. That is a unique position on the world stage that must not be abdicated.

Many Americans trace their roots to people who left harsh conditions in other countries in search of a better life in the United…

Central America Migrant Caravan

October 26, 2018

In the Trump era, buttoned-down, straight-laced conservatism is widely seen to have been replaced by wild-eyed, open-throated populism. Yet Trump has worked closely with Congress to deliver economic policies that big-business Republicans have wanted for decades. In a strange and important way,…

Financial Markets Wall Street-7
93 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 10
        Next Page»   Last Page»