Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Kalb Report — The Fight for Freedom of the Press

This was a very interesting discussion.

Here's the description of the program:
The White House has launched an all-out war against the press terming several news organizations, including CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and The New York Times, the “enemy of the American people,” and their work, “fake news.” The president’s chief strategist has called the press “the opposition party” and has said the media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
On Saturday, April 8, CNN anchor Jake Tapper and Washington Post political reporter David Fahrenthold join Marvin Kalb to discuss coverage of the new administration, the responsibility of the press in a democracy, and life in the crosshairs of Donald Trump’s tweets.

The Kalb Report series is produced jointly by The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, University of Maryland University College and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. The series is underwritten by a grant from Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

The opening question from Kalb was if this is a new relationship with an administration or is it similar to what other administrations have done. There had always been an adversarial relationship between the press and the presidency. But is this something new.

Both of them said that this was something different. Tapper said that Trump was trying to delegitimize any reports or reporters that were unfavorable to him. That there is no respect for institutions sighting the comments Trump made about the courts. The idea is that Trump wants people to only believe what he is saying and what he is saying is the truth.

Fahrenthold talked about more than any other president Trump relies on the news media to get his news. The strike against Syria was based more on what Trump saw on TV then what he was told in briefings.

Also both talked how Trump's opinions and positions shift all the time. Tapper's comment was over breakfast they can change.

Also this president more than any other reacts to how he's portrayed in the media. They didn't say this but they were talking about what a thin skin Trump has. That he can't take any sort of criticism about anything. And when he is criticised he lashes out at people.

Other things they mentioned was how on one in the administration aren't out pushing a particular view of the story. No sort of push back or comment at all on some stories. Or mixed messages. The Mike Flynn story was a prime example. How Trump spokespeople went out and said Flynn had the full support of the president and then five hours later he was gone.

Fahrenthold also talked about how well things work out for Trump will depend on how well he works with Congress. The problem is is that Trump is not a strategic thinker. He reacts to those who have slighted him today and not who he'll need in the long run to accomplish his agenda.

They closed with talking about as Tapper said there's a whole lot of crazy out there now. The Pizzagate "story" was sighted. That there needs to be a better push back by the media as a whole when such stories are out and out right fake.

I asked a question on how to combat the attention to these extreme sights that are suddenly getting a great deal of coverage. Tapper says the media has to identify what the real facts of the story are and also give details of the people and organizations that are behind them.

Both thought that people were much more engaged and were following the news more closely because Trump was president. The said the interesting thing to see is if people continue to be as engaged once Trump is out of office.

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