In recent days, the media has been accusing President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team of being in a state of chaos and disarray. The fact is, it’s actually the media that is in chaos and disarray. Psychologists call this “projection.” The rest of us call it a tantrum.
For decades, the media has been allowed “pool coverage” of presidents. This meant that a reporter from each area of journalism—print, television, broadcast, digital, etc.—would be allowed to travel pretty much everywhere with the president. This unspoken protocol has rarely been challenged. Until now.
So far, Trump has ditched the press every day since he was elected. He never informed his “pool” that he was going to the White House to meet with President Obama. He never told them he was going out to the 21 Club to have dinner with his family. The press was livid. Many of them have taken to submitting sternly-worded letters to the Trump team.
When the media began reporting that his transition team was in chaos, Trump used Twitter to say they were doing just fine. See how easy that was? He performed an ad-hoc correction on behalf of the media for free. They should thank him. He also tweeted a list of the heads-of-state that he’s conferred with so far, while at the same time throwing a few barbs at the New York Times for their biased coverage of him. Of course, we still need to work on his judgment a little bit on that heads-of-state thing, but that’s a whole other issue.
While “traditional media” has been dying a slow death for years, it looks like Trump might put the nail in the coffin. It’s going to be a brave new world, not just for the average American citizen, but for the media as well. They’re going to have to wake up to the reality that is Trump.
This is not going to be just a “slight correction” for them. This is going to be a full-blown paradigm shift—a tectonic movement. Trump is changing the way the press has done things for generations.
And most of them know it. That’s why they’re scurrying like rats right now to maintain their viability. That’s why they continue to fling poop at Trump. It seems they’ve forgotten the old adage about catching more flies with honey. Or maybe they would just consider themselves too tainted if they try to do it Trump’s way. But they’re going to have to do it, either way.
Trump has already made it clear that he laughs in the face of traditionalism and “the way we’ve always done things.” He is switching the focus to, “the way we’re doing things now.” The media can either devise another strategy so they can win on a different playing field or not. Either way, it doesn’t look like Trump will be the one changing his methods.