By Tom Johnson ~
The mainstream media should practice a little benign neglect in their coverage of the Trump administration, suggested Daily Kos writer Kerry Eleveld in a Tuesday post. Eleveld wondered, “Why even send reporters to Trump press conferences?” and called President Trump “a totally repugnant human being” but conceded that he’s “a master manipulator” for whom pressers are “sheer sport…By continuing to engage in them, reporters are simply setting themselves up as targets on his terrain.”
Eleveld argued that “the two premises that help level the playing field for reporters” at a presidential press conference are “that facts matter, and…that serving the American people is primary to a president’s own self interests…Since neither of those two things hold true for Trump, press conferences will be rendered useless for the next four years…With a normal president, reporters wield shame and guilt as antidotes to an administration that isn’t making good on campaign pledges or doing good for the masses. But with a clear sociopath at the helm, leveling shame and guilt will be a little like taking fly swatters to the 800-pound gorilla in the room.”
In Eleveld’s view, there’d be no downside to the MSM’s absence from the pressers (bolding added):
Press conferences can provide an important give and take…But the people behind the podium have to buy into the premise that they are there to serve the voters. There has been absolutely no indication — either at the White House or on Capitol Hill — that Republicans believe there should be any check whatsoever on their power. Least of all, a check provided by reporters…
Here’s what a presser would look like: Breitbart, Infowars, and World Net Daily representatives duking it out to ask Trump or his minion Sean Spicer some eye-popping questions. Talk about must-see reality TV. No joke — this could do a world of good. It would both deprive Trump of the contentious interactions he thrives on, and/or prove deeply revealing to everyone other than the 35-40 percent of Trump followers who are still hoping he guns someone down on 5th Avenue (i.e. sane viewers). News outlets will likely be allowed to broadcast the events and use Trump’s answers just the same as if they had representatives there. It’s a win no matter what and will kill his ability to use mainstream reporters as punching bags. And if they decide to discontinue briefings altogether, reporters can spend more time on the Hill, which will be leaking like a sieve.
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.