Yesterday at the Trump Towers’ press conference, sparks flew between President Elect Donald Trump and CNN White House Correspondent, John Acosta. Since, the rest in media world have been a flutter with their assessment of who’s right, who’s wrong in the comical scene that unfolded during the 44-minute presser.
We must keep in mind, the press is used to Donald Trump the developer, the Celebrity Apprentice mogul – not the President of the United States. Most liberal media was so sure their new president would be Hillary Clinton, their shock was witnessed by all on Election Day when she lost. Hence, we can assume, like Meryl Streep and snowflakes, they grapple with this new reality that the people elected Trump to represent the country — leader of the one of the world powers.
No longer a mere celebrity to be treated in a paparazzi manner, he now commands respect due to his position in our society as our leader. This is something the media must get a handle on; and quickly, before he has his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, pull their access. They must remember, the Trump Administration has the right to refuse them access and pull their White House credentials at will. There is no constitutional mandate that presidents even have to engage with the press at all.
Throughout presidential history, many presidents and media have experience turbulent relationships. Richard Nixon distrusted the press immensely and often deferred his messages to the public on prime time, direct from the Oval Office. The Nixon/Press relationship became more ensnarled after Washington Post reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward began their Watergate investigative reporting, which resulted in the Administration pulling the newspaper’s credentials mid-term.
Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed a bi-polar response to the press – during his first term. He often courted the press in a jovial manner and was loved by many WH reporters. However, after the New Deal began to unravel through the Supreme Court rulings in his second and third terms, he was often truculent and removed.
We also have to remember that, unlike President Elect Trump’s willingness to let the press go free-wheeling with questions, many previous presidents held a policy, requiring questions be submitted to the Administration ahead of time. Given the situation yesterday, wouldn’t be at all surprising this is one the Trump Administration will adopt for future pressers.
Perspective going forward.
Granted, its usual protocol the presidential staff gives press access; however, as shown through the election, the President Elect is more than capable of tweeting directly to the people, bypassing press involvement altogether. Many people actually like his tweets because it’s a direct link, not subject to interpretation or conjecture or personal political lens for which the words are parsed through.
Even with his Twitter feed, President Elect Trump made himself available to the press much more often during the campaign than any other candidates. He sat down and called into many shows on all networks, willing to discuss his policies with them. He was openly acquiescent to his enemies in the press as much as his friends. For example, he agreed to a Megyn Kelly interview for Fox after their long bitter Twitter war after the first GOP debate in August 2015. He was hospitable and answered her questions honestly.
To point out the contrast between General Election candidates’ interaction with the press, we can’t forget the 200+ days Clinton failed to give any press conference. When she finally made one, it was a completely scripted and widely known the press gave her the questions ahead of time; unlike the President Elect’s impromptu pressers where the press was free to ask questions of him without forewarning. Therefore, one cannot cry foul and say the President Elect hasn’t made himself available to a seemingly hostile press that has done nothing but vilify him to the voting audience since he entered the race for the presidency.
Going forward, it would be advantageous for John Acosta and the Media to remember our President Elect is the leader and no longer a celebrity or presidential candidate. Hence, he deserves to be treated with some decorum – meaning without shouting out and disregarded with rudeness.
Sugar gains more than vinegar — and respect goes a long way and when dealing with the leader of the free world, it should be first and foremost.