Missing the point in conflict between Trump and media
So Jim Acosta of CNN – courtesy of the courts – has his hard pass that allows him access to the White House and the unfettered ability to cover the president of the United States back.
It’s another win for the First Amendment and freedom of speech – which we will always applaud. The problem is, that’s not what the controversy was about.
President Trump answered 68 questions at the press conference where Acosta’s flare-up with the president occurred – on his ninth question. And that’s a stretch. They were not questions so much as they were commentary from him, argument from him, opinion from him, and a physical resistance toward an intern attempting to get the microphone away from him.
It was arrogant grandstanding and unfair to all the other reporters – some of whom probably had legitimate questions to ask the president.
To emphasize Trump’s treatment of the press misses the point entirely, especially in light of the fact that this president talks face-to-face with reporters more than any in memory.
To emphasize the First Amendment also misses the point. Despite the fact that most media surveys say 90 percent of the coverage has been negative, there is no evidence of anyone’s freedom of speech being curtailed.
And focusing on the First Amendment camouflages the lack of traditional ethics in the Washington media elite and most national news corps coverage of Trump and his administration.
They are supposed to be objective reporters. They are supposed to ask questions – difficult ones by all means – get answers and deliver stories based on answers and other information gathered.
If they want to be commentators or opinion writers, then they should be passing the hard news pass over to a colleague.
And whether they like or dislike Trump – and granted, he gives plenty of reason for dislike – is not supposed to matter.
Most of America realizes these tenets are not being observed. And that’s why the media’s trust rating is below the president’s.