I know that journalism, and journalists in particular are held in particularly low esteem. Somewhere between a flea and a yellow jacket. Actually they are right up there (or down there I suppose) with used car salesmen and lawyers. So they are easy pickings for any politician. Except, irony of ironies, politicians of all stripes are trusted even less. Now that is a major achievement. Sounds like the pot is calling the kettle black. Or this case, Donald Trump claiming that any media outlet such as CNN are fake news when they publish something he doesn’t like and are simply unproven. Mind you that stop him ragging on about Obama’s birth certificate. That was unproven. And Trump went after that forever it seems. Or as Trump would say “oh I don’t know” when questioned about something he cannot prove.
I am talking about Trumps press conference (as if you didn’t know) which he held Wednesday in wake of the recent imbroglio concerning the briefing he received, and subsequent leaking, about possible salacious Russian files on him. So what was pre-planned as a press conference on his business and how he would disentangle himself from any ethical violations, (more on that another day) turned into Trump ad libbing his way on anything that took his fancy. Which primarily meant attacking the messenger.
The bigger and somewhat scary piece of this whole thing, is calling out Buzzfeed for “consequences” for having the audacity to publish the material. Last time I checked it’s called freedom of speech. You may not like it but it’s the best we have. And beats the alternative. To top it all off, Trump had the hypocrisy to ask if we’re living in Nazi Germany, as he did earlier via a Tweet. Regardless of whether the memo is true or not, attacking a media outlet with veiled threats is clearly unacceptable. Finally the whole thing would have flamed out had it not fitted so neatly into Trumps persona in the first place.
We need journalists to ask the questions. You and I are not invited to a press conference. You may think them annoying, like lawyers, but we need them.