The media have a weak hand to play against Trump
Over the last week 45 days, "anonymous" has become the word of the moment. Over and over, we've read that an anonymous source said this or that a senior official reported that. I did not know that we had that many senior officials in Washington, D.C. We could start downsizing government by releasing all of these senior officials who apparently know so much!
To be fair, anonymous sources are essential to expose corruption in high places. They are not a good source to promote a political agenda or to give those who lost the election an opportunity to embarrass those who won.
On this basis, we learned about a Russia-Trump connection that no one can prove. Director Comey recommended that DOJ not take President Trump's wiretapping charges seriously. How can the director of the FBI speak that way about the president of the U.S.?
It's enough to drive an honest person mad. For example, why doesn't Director Comey come out and confirm the story? Otherwise, is it too much for me to conclude that this is another hit piece against President Trump?
The media either are tone-deaf or do not understand that they are playing a weak hand. It's not that President Trump has a strong hand. Instead, it is that the media lack credibility, as David Zurawik wrote over the weekend:
What I am deeply concerned about is the way the media have been covering him and, in some cases, feeding that worst-ever narrative. Trump is being treated unfairly in some parts of the mainstream media, and unless we deal with it honestly and openly, we are the ones who will wind up losing credibility even as we point our fingers at Trump for his lies.
What tipped the balance on writing this column was the over-the-top reaction to Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary, excluding some reporters from an informal, off-camera briefing Feb. 24 called a gaggle. The word "unprecedented" was used along with the idea that Trump had gone where no modern president ever has by allowing his press secretary to exclude the New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed and others from the session.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times, set the tone, writing: "Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,"
"The decision struck veteran White House journalists as unprecedented in the modern era," correspondents Dylan Byers, Sara Murray, and Kevin Liptak wrote in a reaction piece at CNN Money.
Even my own paper joined the chorus in the wake of Spicer's gaggle.
Mr. Zurawil then goes to detail how the Obama administration targeted Fox and even other reporters. In other words, it did not start with Trump. There were plenty of examples under President Obama, but too many in the media just closed their ears and did the "hope and change."
And this is why I say the media have a weak hand. You don't have to be a genius to see that the media did not cover the Obama presidency aggressively or care much for journalism for eight years.
The media have a little housecleaning to do. They won't gain the respect of most Americans until they do that. Just check CNN's ratings!