Is the White House treating the press unfairly? | The Tylt
Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon created a firestorm when he declared that the media needs to "keep its mouth shut" and called the press "the opposition party." Trump claimed he was in “a running war” with the media and called journalists “the most dishonest people on earth.” Many found these remarks disturbing, but others say the relationship between the White House and the press is always adversarial—and many Americans loathe the media too. What do you think?
Is the White House treating the press unfairly?
Bannon's remarks were all the more unsettling because they were not offhand. “I want you to quote this,” Bannon said, before characterizing the media as the enemy.
And it's not just Bannon—Sean Spicer refused to take questions at his first White House press conference, instead berating the media in an angry statement that included "at least four easily verifiable lies about the crowd size for Trump’s Inauguration."
Many point out that this hostility from the Trump White House is not business as usual, but an alarming attempt to undermine the press. At Cleveland.com, Michael Kline put it simply:
"Trump's attacks on credible media are frightening."
Others say the media,—whether through chasing ratings, bias, or just shoddy reporting—has brought this abuse on themselves. It's not just Trump's White House that can't stand the media—America hates them too. About 4 in 10 Americans (38 percent) can recall a specific recent incident that caused them to lose trust in a news source. Is the White House just expressing the disgust that the majority of the country feels?
When a member of Congress says “Better to get your news directly from the president—in fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth”?
That's not just unfair to the media, it undermines the entire institution. You don't have to love the press or think they're perfect to understand that they're included in our Constitution for a reason. They're an essential check on government.
As President of the Newspaper Association of America David Chavern wrote:
I both understand and appreciate the role of a free press in a free society—and the fact that a free press is not always fun or pleasant. Journalists can be rude, and lazy and biased, just like anyone else. But the system as a whole only works if there are whole bunch of them chasing, checking, questioning and complaining.
People on the left and the right have condemned the way the media handled this election, and many say the White House's disdain for them is absolutely deserved. If a minority of America even trusts our media, is that Bannon's fault?