Should the Press Boycott the President?

US-POLITICS-TRUMPI read this post yesterday from the excellent blogger behind Write Brain Widow. It’s all about what is happening to America’s free press. And she posted it in August 2017. I wrote in my comment after reading her post, “You wrote this almost a year ago and it still applies today, only things have gotten even worse for the media due to the instigator-in-chief and his inflammatory rhetoric.”

One of her memorable lines in her post was, “Like a mirror, the news is only your enemy if what you see or hear isn’t true, not if it’s just not what you want it to be.” Our president (and I use the terms “our” and “president” loosely) doesn’t like what he sees and hears (I’d say reads, but I’m not sure he actually reads anything other than his teleprompters, and he doesn’t even do that very well), not because it isn’t true, but because it’s not what he wants it to be. And so he lashes out at the press, claiming everything they say about him that he doesn’t like is “fake news” and calling the reporters and journalists “the enemy of the American people.” His rhetoric is actually putting members of the press in jeopardy.

Write Brain Widow responded to my comment on her post by writing,

“I always wonder why the media doesn’t rise up, doesn’t boycott the so-called press conferences, and the ego-stoking rallies; why every legitimate media source doesn’t strike back each time the hateful barbs are thrown. It may not change anything but now, though they take the ‘high road’, their silence is deafening.”

I agree “bigly.” I also wonder why the members of press still attend the White House daily briefings when they know that the smokey-eyed, snide press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is going to lie to them and demean them. Why does the press attend Trump’s rallies, when all he does is spew lies and hate and inflame his lemmings against reporters?

Interestingly, I read this morning’s newspaper column by Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, and he asked the same question. Why doesn’t the press boycott him?

“No reporter or news organization should show up for the White House briefings or for his appearances. Little of value comes out of them anyway.

“All the reporters assigned to the White House could be reassigned to cover the federal agencies where the action really is — the ones that are implementing Trump’s avalanche of executive orders.

“White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would probably welcome it. No longer would she have to embarrass herself by being asked about facts and having to respond with Trump’s fantasies.”

Trump said that we shouldn’t believe what we see, read, or hear. We should, he said, believe only him, the liar-in-chief.

As the Write Brain Widow said at the end of her excellent post, “Remember, it’s rarely true that no news is good news.”

24 thoughts on “Should the Press Boycott the President?

  1. Laura August 12, 2018 / 10:54 am

    I really struggle with this question. I see how pointless an exercise it is to try and be responsible journalists with this administration — I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to walk into that press room briefing every day and face outright lies from the podium plus straight up disrespect from the office. A big part of me thinks their time would be more effective elsewhere.

    But I think news organizations must feel an obligation to keep their reporters there in their last ditch efforts to hold the administration accountable. With no one in the room except FOX news there’s no one to report on a refusal to answer the hard questions. That will matter in the course of history, I’d imagine. But I’m annoyed by the feeling that I’ll only feel vindicated when I’m 80.

    Thanks for linking write brain widow’s blog post here. I enjoyed that one.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fandango August 12, 2018 / 11:23 am

      I know, I feel conflicted on this, as well.

      Like

  2. Marilyn Armstrong August 12, 2018 / 11:13 am

    Garry has very mixed feeling about this one. He feels the way the press is being treated is humiliating and it makes him absolutely furious. But how exactly to respond is another matter. He isn’t sure if ignoring the asshole or attacking him — or some combination of both — should be the answer. Mostly, he is VERY glad he is no long part of the working press. i don’t think he’d be able to hold on to his temper in this climate. In all his years, nothing remotely like this ever happened. Certainly nothing that enraged him to this degree.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango August 12, 2018 / 12:34 pm

      “In all his years, nothing remotely like this ever happened.” To used a much overused word, it is unprecedented.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. writebrainwidow August 12, 2018 / 11:15 am

    Thank you so much for not only sharing my post but your lovely comments on it. We seem to have a mutual admiration of each other’s thoughts and ways of expressing them, though I’m a bit lazier in my output. Keep writing – your writing and your way at looking at things is just wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango August 12, 2018 / 12:56 pm

      Thank you. And thanks for giving me the link for your post, which served as the inspiration for this one.

      Like

  4. JT Twissel August 12, 2018 / 11:46 am

    It’s a quandary. I really don’t want to see Trump ever again on any channel. Or Pence. Just the sight of them and I turn the channel. But we can’t put blinders on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango August 12, 2018 / 1:00 pm

      I know what you mean. The sight of both of them nauseates me.

      Like

  5. Reflections of an Untidy Mind August 12, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    That is the recommended approach for dealing with narcissists. Your press would do well to focus on the facts and the evidence to support them without drawing attention to whatshisname. But that is just my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen August 12, 2018 / 5:22 pm

      Spike Lee won’t say his name and calls him agent orange.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fandango August 12, 2018 / 9:39 pm

        I don’t like referring to him as “President Trump.” I use either Donald Trump or Trump.

        Like

  6. magnoliajem August 12, 2018 / 5:05 pm

    Boycotting him and the daily “briefings” is a very tempting concept. He might not actually want or like coverage solely by an adoring FOX, since he thrives on the chaos he creates. Unfortunately, though, a boycott would eliminate the existence of tangible evidence of his duplicity. If only the legitimate press would agree to *really* pool their resources, sending a skeleton corps to cover him and the White House for the historical (and criminal) record. That would then permit them to cover the real news happening at the agencies, as Willie Brown suggests.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. unexpectedincommonhours August 12, 2018 / 5:28 pm

    Maybe they should use a press pool at rallies and in White House press briefings and then feed the info to news organizations. I don’t understand why they allow themselves to be “penned up” at Trump rallies and thus become open targets of abuse. Trump thrives on press coverage. Who knows what he would do if he got less coverage, but I would love to see him and his tweets get less air time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango August 12, 2018 / 9:43 pm

      Good point. The mainstream media should use a minimal sized pool for the WH briefings and at his rallies or other press “opportunities” just to get things “one the record,” but not give him the satisfaction of a large press gathering or allowing him to use them as a target.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Henry Chamberlain August 12, 2018 / 5:32 pm

    The members of the press that regularly attend these White House briefings are stuck witnessing a train wreck they can’t take their eyes off of. They are sworn witnesses to history and Huckabaloo Sanders is part of history. It’s an easy enough prestige gig and no one accustomed to it is leaving that behind. It’s the journalists out there covering their own beats that really matter. They’re doing their jobs out of the public eye. Woodward and Bernstein never had to stand alongside Dan Rather breathlessly waiting for their gotcha moment at one of these sideshow press conferences.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sight11 August 12, 2018 / 8:08 pm

    I don’t think boycotting is such a good idea, it will certainly be treated more as a defeat by Trumpster and his supporters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • katemccseattle August 12, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      I agree with you. A more subtle approach is probably called for. One that just lets them speak their piece, no response or questions (she never answers them anyway). A “just the facts” fact check follow-up. Use the title not the name. Minimize the attention for bad behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

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