Somebody call out the National Guard. The Washington press corps may have to give up what they believe is their rightful place in the Brady Press Briefing Room, close to all the action.
It’s true. As devastating as it sounds, the president-elect may banish them — eject them completely from their coveted location in the West Wing to a brand new place around the bend. It seems the “fourth pillar of American democracy” is standing on some shaky ground these days.
The national press corps, who have for decades been nestled in the White House press room between the presidential residence and the West Wing, could be relocated to the White House Conference Center or to a space next to the White House.
President-elect Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said that no decision had been made yet regarding the relocation, but, the transition team had discussed it. Spicer said for the most part, it comes down to a question of logistics. After all, the Nixon-era press room only accommodates 49 reporters.
“When we had that press conference the other day, we had thousands of requests, and we capped it at four hundred,” Spicer said. “Is there an opportunity to potentially allow more members of the media to be part of this? That’s something we’re discussing.”
Other unconfirmed rumors suggest that the press may finally be getting the comeuppance that most of the nation thinks would be well-deserved for the inarguably bad way the presidential campaign was covered — Trump included.
So, the news media is lost right now.
They’re not sure whether to scratch their butts or wind their watches. There is great fear and trepidation in the halls of places like the Columbia Journalism Review, who seem to be completely lost about Trump and who he represents. They just don’t know what to make of him.
“What makes Trump so difficult to write about is that he presents no story,” says Lee Siegel, opinion writer for CJR. “Like a cubist portrait, he changes your perception of reality by the minute.”
If the tenor of his first news conference held last week is any indicator, the Washington reporters are going to have to start seriously checking themselves from now on. Trump is about to shake things up. And he’ll likely have them redefining a lot of old, familiar words and concepts to which they’ve grown so accustomed — words like, “status quo.” Because there’s a new status quo in town.
Trump has indicated that he just wants a fair shake. No spin, no quoting out of context, no passing on fake news, no exaggerations, no misleading stories. Trump should expect no less than honest coverage. And, from the perspective of an American citizen, it would be nice if that same agenda could be applied to all news reporting — not just where it concerns Trump.
Frankly, it’s not just Trump supporters who have had it with the press.
They are equal-opportunity aggravators. From the far alt-right to the far alt-left, those who are fed up with the media come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and political leanings.
The people are fed up for so many reasons. Fed up with the biased reporting. Fed up with the liberal agenda. Fed up with the whole “fake news” situation. Fed up with its recklessness when it comes to the trust of the American people. Americans are tired of the “revered” press thinking it knows better than anyone else what we do and don’t need to know. We’re tired of them putting on lofty airs and feeling entitled to do anything they damn well please — including creating opinions rather than offering facts that allow Americans to form their own opinions.
The fact is, the news media IS indispensable to the American people.
They are watchdogs for the people. But they’ve become more like lapdogs in recent decades, responding with enthusiasm only to the most expensive bone thrown their way.
Those days are over. They need to get back to work doing what they’re supposed to be doing — investigating and reporting the news as objectively as possible and letting us decide what we think about it. They need to get off their own personal agendas. Just give us the facts, man.
It remains to be seen what our new president’s approach will be to the media. It’s probably fair to say that his supporters wouldn’t begrudge him a little retribution. After all, he got slammed by about 90 percent of the media during his presidency.
The best thing for him to do, of course, would be simply to take the high road and move on.
If it makes sense for him to relocate the press corps, then he should do so. The ball is in the press corps’ court! They could clean up their act quickly and avert what they consider being ostracized, or keep doing what they have been and end up reporting second hand news when they aren’t allowed access to the original source.