By the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump was beginning to act a little like a junkyard dog whenever the press came around, but not without reason. He had long accused the American media of extremely biased coverage and left-leaning agendas. Turns out, he was right. Studies revealed that the amount of negative press he received during the campaign was on the order of 10-1 to as much as 20-to-1 over his opponent, Hillary Clinton. While he was able to thwart the media a little along the way, it was never possible to exert any real control over them.
Trump, now the president-elect, obviously understands that his win on Tuesday has afforded him a little more control than he had during the campaign—or ever had, for that matter. What is he doing with this new-found control?
Well, he has un-invited the media to his party.
And boy, are they are pissed. Most of the major news outlets flipped on Thursday when Trump was scheduled to meet with President Obama for the first time and they had been given no prior information concerning his whereabouts. In fact, the media has pretty much been in the middle of a Trump-imposed blackout since Wednesday.
The major news organizations are having a serious pity-party over Trump refusing to engage with them. The leader of one media organization said that Trump’s behavior was “unacceptable.” Wow. That would be a first. They’re screaming about the need for transparency and why they must be able to follow Trump around every waking minute of the day. They’re using scare tactics to warn the public that, without the media, America wouldn’t know in the event of a national emergency exactly where our president is. Meanwhile, most Americans can see that there really is no need to stir an already boiling pot.
The media is wrong if they think the American people are going to rise up and defend them. They’re also wrong if they think we’ll make a big stink and demand that they be allowed round-the-clock access to the president.
The media has long been considered a protector of the American people, but the American people know better—now. There was a time when Americans counted on the press to provide the unbiased, unvarnished truth about national events and people. But the media sold out years ago to special interests and agendas. Now, Americans are comfortably resigned to the fact that “truth” varies with whatever newspaper we happen to pick up, TV station we tune to, or internet site we visit.
With regard to the media blackout, Trump may be trying to send a clear message to the media elite that intentionally biased reporting is what is “unacceptable.” Maybe they didn’t understand what Trump meant when he said he was “draining the swamp.” He saw the media as the gators circling that swamp.
He is likely trying to remind them that the unfettered access they’ve been granted for generations is not a right, but a privilege. The media, or the “fourth estate,” needs to remember that its relationship with the government must be built on a foundation of trust between the media and the American people. Otherwise, it fails.
All the media-types out there who are waiting on Americans to storm Washington over this issue probably shouldn’t hold their breath. If you want access to Trump, it’s a safe bet it will only require a couple of things from you. And it’s not rocket science. Just try being truthful and fair. You might be surprised to learn not only is this what Trump requires, it’s also what the American people need and want most right now.