Journalists are not exactly neutral with the Trump administration, but it is a two-way street. Communications@Syracuse recently asked several D.C.-based journalists, editors and producers on their thoughts on the Trump administration’s relationship with the press. Much of the feedback alleged that the Trump administration has been disorganized and has declared a war on the media. Others pointed out that the increasing partisanship of media coverage and it has fueled the rise of Donald Trump. Here are snippets from the Communications@Syracuse blog post:
Tim Maier, executive editor and COO of Talk Media News: “The media has not had a good relationship with the current administration. Some of it stems from the biased coverage during the campaign and the failure of the media to understand what was going on in the country—particularly in the Midwest where Obama voters cast ballots for Trump. The Trump team has not forgotten and now calls the media the opposition party.”
“The landscape of journalism is changing because reporters are becoming less objective in their reports. For journalists to win back the public, they may need to be more transparent in their political affiliations just as they are when they report finance news and disclose financial interests.”
Peter Grier, Washington editor for the Christian Science Monitor: “The new administration treats the media as a prop, not a conduit. They are a part of the Trump show as opposed to a means for communication with the American people. The relationship has been moving in this direction since the Reagan administration so in some ways I’m surprised it didn’t happen earlier.”
Steve Scully, senior political producer and political editor at C-SPAN: “As with any new administration, the Trump White House is trying to set its marker on what the POTUS and press office thinks is—or is not—acceptable. This is not new. Every new president has issues with the press, it goes with the political terrain. What is different, however, is just how public President Trump has been with his war on the ‘dishonest, lying and crooked’ media. Not since Richard Nixon have we had a president so vocal and so critical about the Fourth Estate. Having said that, I give credit to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for his open-door policy and his willingness to meet behind closed doors to deal with some of these issues. Sean understands the D.C. press corps and, while critical of some reporting, he has started out with a willingness to listen. That’s positive.”
“Like the media in general, political journalism is becoming sharper and often more partisan. We’ve moved from straight reporting the news to opinion journalism, which in many ways has led to a divided nation. This polarization will become sharper in contrast and even more evident, I fear, during the next four years of the Trump Administration.