Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein on Sunday urged cable news networks to reconsider live broadcasts of President Donald Trump’s press conferences, denouncing them as “propagandist exercises” packed with “dishonesty and lying.”
Bernstein, famously part of the duo of reporters who unearthed the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post during the Nixon administration, scolded the media for treating the president’s press conferences and briefings as “campaign” rallies.
“I don’t think we should be taping them live all the time and just pasting them up on there because they’re basically propagandist exercises, because they are overwhelmed by [Trump’s] dishonesty and lying,” Bernstein said during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Bernstein, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, suggested media outlets continue to attend Trump’s press conferences, but “edit” and “decide as reporters what is news.”
“We can put up the total press conference on our website so that everybody has the chance to see it,” Bernstein continued. “But we need to start editing. We need to say, ‘Here’s the story,’ ― not just give him a microphone when we know that his methodology is to engage and manipulate us on the basis of lying, propaganda and agitprop.”
Trump’s press conferences and briefings frequently ― and notoriously ― offer a platform for the president to spew falsehoods and bombastic rhetoric, and often include turbulent exchanges between the president and reporters.
Following one such press conference earlier this month, the White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials after he refused to give up the microphone. CNN sued the White House, and late last week, a federal judge ordered the White House to immediately reinstate Acosta’s press pass while the full CNN suit proceeds.