News flash: America isn't crying over the plight of the White House press corps
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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE is no ordinary politician, and on Thursday we witnessed no ordinary press conference.  

Trump’s assault is sure to alter White House media relations for years to come; and it is safe to say no other president has dared to change this dynamic since the day when Teddy Roosevelt first used the term “muckrakers.”


The president and his administration treat the media with an air of contempt.  Yet, while we can’t pinpoint which is the chicken or the egg, there is a clear and unabashed reciprocity on the part of most mainstream media outlets.


It’s time for them to stop pretending there isn’t.

In the hours following the event, and in the days leading up to it, there has been an open barrage from the members of the press corps and their news organizations about the way they are treated and outrage at the new standard, almost in some effort to gain public sympathy and support for their plight.

They have even gone as far as questioning the administration’s authority to, of all things, call on smaller and less nationally known news outlets instead of the larger mainstream ones that have been entrenched in attack-mode since the inauguration.

Oh, how the public weeps.

One of the mistakes the press corps is making is that they are trying to insert themselves as a character in the play, rather than just a critic in the audience.

When you catch a member of the corps in a television interview, it’s becoming more common that their interaction with the president is the story, rather than the subject they were sent to cover.

This is not a knock on the credibility of their work. The Trump administration has and will likely continue to fill that role and confront the press when they feel a story is inaccurately reported.  (I actually happen to like many members of the press corps and folks at mainstream outlets)

But while the facts of any given story can be argued, the bias is clear, and the Flynn episode is the latest proof.

Assuming Flynn really did discuss the administration’s willingness to reevaluate the sanctions (the transcripts haven’t been made public, after all), it is no worse than President Obama openly telling the Russian president on a hot mic that he will be more flexible after his election.

Not only is the media not treating it the same, but it is unimaginable that there are more pundits panicking over an allegation that the president’s future employee had a passive conversation with an ambassador than there was when the elected leader of our government colluded on camera with the leader of the Russian government to mislead the public on his true intentions until after an election.

We also see this bias with the coverage of the potential Russian hacking during the election.  This is not to say that this isn’t a serious matter, but the headlines, stories, and hysterics do not meet the facts we can confirm.

If you don’t believe that this occurs, watch the video of a New York Times columnist on MSNBC claiming that the hacking of individuals associated with the Clinton campaign is on par with 9/11 and Pearl Harbor …. seriously.

Facing these types of double standards like at every turn, it is no surprise that the administration is trying to pull an end-around on the mainstream media.

To combat this, the largest news outlets are falling back on two things: First, they conflate the president’s accountability to the public with an accountability to the press corps; and second, on their self-insistence of impartiality as a way to tell news consumers that they alone are the guardians of some objective public duty.

Consider the absurdity of their claim to impartiality with this hypothetical experiment:  

Ask any cable news watcher which two of the three biggest networks lean left and which one leans to the right?  You’ll almost always get the same answer.

This is not a result of some mass hallucination. Rather, it’s simply because in this country, like in nearly every other, news outlets tend to slant to one side or the other.  

There is no law or moral duty requiring the American media to be unbiased, and we would all be better served if they abandoned this pretense and accepted reality.   The fact that so many Americans can easily identify which outlets take which bias is in itself prima facie evidence of its existence.

The attitude of the networks and newspapers plays out each day within the White House press corps.   What may have been true before may no longer be the case.  There is a false belief that they alone are the lens through which the public views the president.  That’s simply no longer accurate.

More and more Americans, whether on the right or the left, are coming to the realization that they no longer need to get their news from a small pool of likeminded journalists.

Moreover, many of these same people are excited that they have a president who believes in accountability to the public, rather than the big media corporations.

In fact, it is in many ways refreshing to see a president not absolutely paralyzed with fear out of what could said about him on late night TV or obsessed with seeing his name in the favorable editorials of declining newspapers.

Joseph Borelli is a New York City council member, Republican commentator, professor and Lindsay Fellow at the City University of New York's Institute for State and Local Governance. He has been published in the NY Daily News and appears on CNN, Fox News, and BBC. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeBorelliNYC

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of CUNY ISLG.

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