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Fri Nov 9, 2018, 07:53 AM

The US press corps has to learn to stand up to Trump

The US press corps has to learn to stand up to Trump
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/08/us-press-corps-trump-journalists-press-conferences?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVS19XZWVrZGF5cy0xODExMDk%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&CMP=GTUK_email

What sort of person sits and watches a colleague being bullied and says nothing? Someone in a low-status job fearful of their boss, someone with low self-esteem who thinks they can do nothing, someone who feels powerless. Someone who is a coward? Maybe. This is the way the bully is sanctified and lives to fight another day. I wouldn’t say that my profession is full of people with low self-esteem or who are easily cowed. I like to think of all the noble and brave reporters out there; I know most hacks are egomaniacs. So how then do we explain the entire press corps at Donald Trump’s news conference on Wednesday?

What did they think they were doing? I often think Americans are over-polite, but this was madness. Trump hasn’t just arrived on the scene; his modus operandi is well known. He lies and dismisses any criticism as fake news. He goes in for word salads of fact-free association. He has only one message: that he is the greatest, and the assembled media are the enemies of the people. Obviously he was going to come out of the midterms claiming victory and on the attack. This time he went for Jim Acosta from CNN and some microphone wrangling ensued. Acosta had pointed out that “the caravan” is a distraction and very many hundreds of miles away. He was told he was a rude and terrible person. A reporter who asked about enabling white supremacy was told the question was racist. Acosta has now had his press credentials removed.

The rest of them sat there as if stunned by Trump’s routine bad behaviour. What do they think these press conferences achieve? Do these journos think they are going to get a scoop? Why do they take part in this show of malicious narcissism? Where is their solidarity? The deference shown to Trump is remarkable. A walkout or a boycott should have happened long ago. Trump behaves this way in part because the press pack lets him. It amplifies his behaviour.

Obama loved the media and the media loved him back, because it shared the same cultural references and jokes. But that was another era. The question of how to respond to Trump is one that the US media continue to refuse to address in any coherent way. “Stories” come from his Twitter feed daily, another way of distracting them and confusing every situation. Behind every Trump statement is an implied threat. Behind every lie another lie, and yet even to point out the deliberate falsehoods has been controversial to the media establishment. In 2017 Gerard Baker, then editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, said: “I’d be careful about using the word ‘lie’ … Lie implies much more than just saying something that’s fake. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.”

<<snip>>

If the press is to be seen as the honourable protector of the truth, it must have the courage to disrupt and boycott these displays of brute power. Or it remains complicit in them. Hannah Arendt described a long time ago the ideal subject of totalitarian rule as “people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction … true and false … no longer exists”. This is where we are. No one will stand up for the freedom of the American press if its journalists won’t stand up for each other and walk out of these ritual degradations called press conferences, where questions are only ever answered by lies and intimidation.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2018, 08:06 AM

1. tRump, is a loud mouthed obnoxious bully and far too many cower to him when they should stand up

to him.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2018, 08:11 AM

2. Acosta should now have his own daily hour show, and then rump will really be pissed...

An additional hour of Acosta constantly pestering rump and aides to answer ?s truthfully, and so forth. This could be a turning point (against rump and cronies, for Acosta and the media (who are protected constitutionally)).

Go Acosta!

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2018, 08:21 AM

3. Members of the press hold two opposing truths about themselves that can make it hard to act in the

moment. On the one hand, they can see themselves as noble warriors for the truth, the last line of defense against overreaching politicians, corrupt leaders and hiding-in-plain-sight-scandals. But they're also trained to never, ever make themselves the story -- and because journalism is a business like any other, that's the side that often wins out. And for those in the WHPC -- whose jobs consist of mostly passive news-gathering, unless they're exceptional -- each person in that room is competing against the others. If you see your competitor becoming the story, you're probably going to cover that story, not stand up in the moment to protect him.

It's a lot of institutional inertia to overcome, and it's not going to happen now. I'm mildly interested to see if it might happen if more journalists are barred for whatever reason, but I doubt it will.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2018, 09:56 AM

4. Each and every reporter should ask Acosta's question

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2018, 12:39 PM

5. they should copy the british press who are pretty fearless even against bullies nt

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