Dealing with an irresponsible press.
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In 2016 I attended three Trump rallies as a member of the press corps. Frankly, it was an eye opening experience for me. At the beginning of each rally, there was an Invocation and a Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Few reporters stood up to observe either which I personally found embarrassing. I also noticed the printed press had their columns written before Mr. Trump took the podium. This caused me to question their objectivity as they were more interested in what they wrote as opposed to what Mr. Trump actually said.
From all this, I discovered the news media is a cut-throat business that is more concerned with beating the competition as opposed to reporting the facts. Yet, there is a sense of fraternity among the members of the press. If you attack one, you are attacking them all, and they are quick to come to the defense of each other. When Trump supporters chanted, "CNN sucks, CNN sucks...", most of the press corps took offense and looked at the crowd with disdain.
From this, I have discovered the press possesses an incestuous relationship, you are either in or you're out. You either play ball with their sense of politics or face exclusion. This makes them very cliquish and difficult to get to know.
Those members of the press I talked with during the rallies seemed very insecure about their station in life. I found most to be pseudo-intellectuals. They may be excellent wordsmiths, but shallow in terms of original thinking and debate.
Today we are hearing a lot about "fake news," where stories are dreamt up and lack substance. I'm not sure I like the word "fake" as I tend to see such reporting as "fallacious" or "erroneous." They will quote someone like Mr. Trump, spin it, and report it to the public as if it were gospel to a gullible public. In other words, there is no such things as ethics among the press. It is considered perfectly acceptable to report a story incorrectly, and be slow in issuing a correction, if at all. Further, the reporter is rarely reprimanded properly.
So, what can be done? In Mr. Trump's case, he will continue to circumvent the press completely and communicate directly to the American people via social media before the news media has a chance to garble the message. Of course, they will continue to protest Mr. Trump's tweets, but he should be allowed to clarify his side of the story.
As to ethics, I still believe in prohibiting the issue of press passes or granting interviews to anyone who does not possess press credentials from The Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA). This pledge is a sort of hippocratic oath as applied to journalists. The CFAPA pledge means they will conform to ethical standards.
As an aside, I still like the idea of putting the press corps outside the White House on park benches until they learn to report the news responsibly.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a columnist located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com
Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.