No Media Gatekeepers for Kremlin on the Potomac

QUESTIONS STILL need to be answered. The media are asking them but President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t answer questions honestly.

Mr. Trump, what do you own?

What do you owe and to whom do you owe it?

Those are just a couple of queries asked since the November election. Now that we know Mr. Trump will not divest from his international entanglements that represent Trumpworld, it’s likely the courts will take it from there. It’s an inauspicious way to begin his presidency.

Mr. Trump still believes he can dodge and weave around the questions of journalists without repercussions.

Past is prologue.

Like Nixon, Trump may have won a sizeable audience with his anti-press frothings. But he remains unpopular with at least half of the nation, and they constitute an eager audience for critical reporting. Somebody could remind Gingrich that it’s much harder to shut down readers and viewers than it is a segment of the media. The harder Trump rides the press—and he gives no sign of dismounting—the higher he elevates reporters in the estimation of many voters. Witness how many publications are selling subscriptions by promising to “hold Trump accountable.” – Jack Shafer [Politico]

I’ve been in the Brady Press briefing room, stood in line to have my independent credentials reviewed and my name verified. There are 200 members of the White House press corps and only 49 seats in this room, which are doled out by the White House Correspondents Association.

Jeff Mason, the WHCA president and Reuters White House correspondent

“I made clear that the WHCA would view it as unacceptable if the incoming administration sought to move White House reporters out of the press work space behind the press briefing room,” Mason said in a statement. “Access in the West Wing to senior administration officials, including the press secretary, is critical to transparency and to journalists’ ability to do their jobs.”

Back when blogging began and the craft of writing went from a paid profession, which I enjoyed, to donations, beginning in the early 2000s, the elite media didn’t like that professional writers, radio hosts and bloggers were invading their turf. Now that it may happen again on a much wider scale utilizing fewer professional standards, we’re also learning the Trump administration may move the press from the White House to a larger facility to accomodate independent purveyors of truthiness that benefit Donald Trump.

Prepare for…

Full.

Scale.

Resistance.

And lots of leaks, which is fitting for the man who will sit in the White House and intends on strangling all dissent. Someone who takes the presidency as simply a starring role in a drama over which he retains creative control, while surrounding himself with a cast of characters who fill out his persona but won’t appear in many episodes. Their presence in the cast is only to make Republicans and Democrats feel better. Like people of color used as tokens to prove someone isn’t racist.

The good news for everyone watching the Kremlin on the Potomac take shape is that when casting the secretary of defense he’s picked a man in General Mattis who’s not dependent on the star of this drama for anything, so he won’t feel compelled to support Trump when he eventually steps over a line that respected experts on foreign policy will not cross.

We’ve already seen what the intelligence community is willing to do.

BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith showed the way for the American media last week and the reaction from the legacy media was predictable.

Shock! Dismay! Horror!

It reminded me of the battle between reporter Michael Isikoff and Newsweek, back when he had the scoop that William Jefferson Clinton was having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Drudge won the day because Newsweek wouldn’t print what Isikoff had uncovered first.

No gatekeepers.

This will be a very good thing for the American people.

It’s going to be a very rough initiation for President Trump.

“No one knows what this man is capable of,” Mr. Maher said. “I never, ever, ever felt worried — it never crossed my mind — that George Bush would do something crazy, even though I knew he hated me. He never sued me for a joke.” [New York Times]