Yesterday was perhaps the biggest battle in the ongoing war between the White House and the media. Jay Caruso covered it a bit, but I want to post the video again.
I have some problems with pretty much all of what went down here and afterward.
First of all, I have a huge problem with the way the White House has handled press briefings. It is the most basic thing you can do as far as transparency goes. As conservatives, transparency in government is something we’ve sought for years. Yet, here we are with a Republican White House going out of its way to shut down transparency… and conservatives are perfectly fine with that.
That’s a big problem, because if we’re going to give up any pretense of even a basic transparency, what happens when there is something major – a scandal, etc. – that the White House won’t divulge, in this administration or the next? Do we have any right to ask for more information if we haven’t even demanded they give us basic information in press briefings?
We lose the right to be informed by our government. That is a dangerous precedent, and it is something conservatives should stop cheerleading.
However, let’s stop pretending that journalists are somehow martyrs for our rights or anything like that. The journalist – a White House correspondent for Playboy of all places – chastising Sanders isn’t some advocate for openness and transparency in government. He, like the colleagues cheering him on in the press room and on social media, is virtue signaling, plain and simple.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is some fight for the First Amendment when it’s really just media outlets who are pissed about getting called out for such blatantly biased coverage. Sanders wasn’t entirely wrong in her rant, after all. CNN straight made up a story about someone affiliated with Trump. The result was such a level of embarrassment that three people were fired and any and all references and links to the story were obliterated from the Internet.
These journalists are upset that their privileges, their access, is being revoked. You get a real sense of just how entitled these people feel that they are not allowed to get their air time asking questions. But, why would the White House grant them privileges when they will simply use it to push out story after questionable story?
What’s more, it seems to be that Sanders was baiting journalists into a reaction yesterday, and with reporters openly fighting back now, the White House can continue to claim it’s a hostile media environment and just further shut down access. Maybe the White House is clever enough to lay that trap, maybe it’s not. But, it is a strategy that plays into the White House’s narrative. It’s foolish of the media to take the bait.
As a result of all this, there are no heroes in this war between the White House and the media. Both sides are wrong, and both sides will continue to play the victim for their respective supporters.