Media Figures Encourage Each Other to Keep The Heat on Trump

Media Figures Encourage Each Other to Keep The Heat on Trump
President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

This isn’t really new. The media always goes harder at Republican candidates or presidents than they go at Democrats.

What may be new is that they are openly encouraging each other to keep the kitchen hot for incoming-President Trump and his administration.

On Monday, New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg praised CNN’s Jake Tapper for a recent interview in which he pressed Vice President-elect Mike Pence on whether he knew that Gen. Mike Flynn, an adviser to Trump, had sought a security clearance for his adult son. Flynn’s son had used social media to spread a false conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton.

Tapper had to ask several times before Pence finally allowed that the transition team had filed the “appropriate paperwork” for the security clearance before Trump formally dismissed Flynn’s son last week, and Rutenberg said he wants to see more interviews like that.

And Pence can expect to catch the lion’s share of media heat, as Trump will be far too busy with rallies and talk shows to be of much help.

“If only such moments could stop being so special and start being normal,” Rutenberg said of Tapper’s interview. He added that “it can mean losing bookings and therefore ratings, given that politicians who face real grilling may be inclined to avoid the kitchens that cooked them — a risk worth taking.”

OH… that’s a big affirmative.

The AP and other outlets have praised Tapper’s work with Pence, and they’re not wrong. However, this needs to be a method applied across the board, no matter which political party is in power.

Tapper’s colleague Brian Stelter, who reports on media for CNN, has also called on journalists covering Trump to take a more definitive stance against his assertions that cannot be backed up with evidence, such as a Twitter message he posted last month that said “millions” of people had voted in the election “illegally.”

“See, focusing on the falsehood creates more confusion and gives the lie even more life and that’s the wrong way to go,” Stelter said of media reports on the tweet. “Focusing on Trump’s tendency to buy into B.S. gets to really what’s going on here. This calls for more reporting and for reporters to show our work, to show that we actually know the truth. … The press has to have the power to respond.”

They have always had that power, but not the will.

Where were they for the past eight years?

That’s not to suggest that they just take off, now. Absolutely give Trump and his administration a fit, but unless that same scrutiny is applied to Democrats, calls from people like George Stephanopoulos, and even Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah are just so much fluff in the breeze.

“If ever there is a time that journalists are going to be tested in America, it’s gonna be during the Trump presidency,” said Noah. “Like, I feel like we need to start handing out awards to journalists for calling out bulls**t.”

Maybe we can hold off on that to see if journalists are capable of putting aside their long-held traditions of leftwing partisanship. We know Noah won’t.

There’s a reason people have lost faith in the media. This cheerleading shouldn’t be it, but if they continue to fail to address Democrat politicians with the same vigor, you’ll begin to see more people migrating away from the traditional press.


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