Lesson #1: If you don't play ball, you don't get the ink.
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The press is howling over President Trump's recent attacks on their professionalism and credibility, even going so far as contending he represents a genuine threat to the first amendment, specifically the freedom of the press. Remarkably, many people perceive this threat as legitimate. It is not. Thanks to our Constitution, there is no way he can do so, but there is nothing in there about how he treats the press, or they towards him.
Way before he was elected, Mr. Trump has been under attack by the news media, claiming he was a pompous clown who didn't have a chance in hell of being elected. During the campaign, the press gave the distinct impression they were protecting Mrs. Clinton and trying to smear Mr. Trump. So, even a blind man should realize, there is no love lost between the President and the press.
The question becomes what to do about it. Since Richard Nixon's term of office, there hasn't been an amicable relationship between Republican presidents and the press. This includes Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. They were often portrayed as incompetent buffoons and the slightest indiscretion was blown out of proportion. This is not to suggest they were all saints, but by comparison, Democrats did not experience the same scrutiny or ridicule.
Unlike most Republican presidents, who sat there and took the abuse from the press, Mr. Trump is taking a different tact and is willing to stand up to them. He is cognizant of the fact the credibility of the press is at an all-time low, and that the public simply doesn't trust it. Such low esteem is reflected in diminishing circulation of newspapers and lower TV news viewership.
Mr. Trump's genius resides in his ability to manipulate the press, something he has cultivated for years as a businessman and entertainer. Although the news media will not admit it, Mr. Trump put millions of dollars in their tills. The presidential debates set new ratings for viewership and circulation. Whether you loved him or hated him, the public watched closely, simply because he was provocative and avant garde. He endeared himself to the voters by saying what had been on their minds for a long time, thereby awakening the silent majority. Simply genius.
Now that we're past the election, and as the media was embarrassed by Mr. Trump, they have stepped up their attacks, desperately looking for any chink in his armor. For example, I cannot remember the last time I read or heard anything favorable about Mr. Trump from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and others. Not surprising, Mr. Trump knew this was coming and instead of cow-towing to the press, he defiantly stood his ground and turned the tables on the media, to which they claimed "foul!"
I believe there is little doubt the media is biased against Mr. Trump. Having accompanied the press at Mr. Trump's campaign rallies, I saw this first hand. Beyond this, there is also the problem of having any pro-Trump articles printed by the press. Over the years I have submitted a multitude of articles to different news outlets. One thing I learned from this, if it does not suit their political agenda, it will not get any ink (produced or promoted). And if you don't get the ink, your career as a journalist will go nowhere.
If the media is owned and operated by the left, anything other than liberal dogma is censored, be it a major article or a simple letter to the editor. It is not uncommon for conservative articles to be ignored or buried by the main street media. Publishers will deny it, but this is a common occurrence. If you don't play ball, you simply do not get posted or properly publicized. Such censorship has not gone unnoticed by the general public, which helps to explain why circulation is dropping.
I have an illustrator friend who has noted the same attitude by the news media. His work has attracted national attention over the years and has appeared on the cover of just about every major news and sports magazine in the United States. Early in his career, he was contracted to draw a picture of the current Vice President, Dan Quayle, for a major publication. Nearing completion, he was asked by the magazine, "We want you to make him look a little dumber," and he complied. Then, as the Clinton administration entered office, he was asked to draw a picture of Vice President Al Gore by the same magazine. Using the same style he used for Mr. Quayle, he submitted his picture of Gore, whereby he was quickly reprimanded, "What? You've really gone too far this time! Make him look smarter."
So, Yes, there is a double standard in the news media and frankly, nobody should be surprised by this. Newspapers in this country were founded on political agendas, going as far back as the 1700's.
This is why I am an advocate of the Constitution First Amendment Press Association's (CFAPA) Constitutional Journalist’s Pledge which seeks to improve ethics in the field of journalism.
Until such time as the press corps cleans up its ethical standards and truly promotes freedom of speech, look for them to remain at war with the President. This may sell newspapers but is unhealthy for the country overall. One thing is for sure, their days of controlling the president are over, and this is what angers them most of all.
Keep the Faith!
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