Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again

Long gone are the days when the media would agree not to film FDR in his wheelchair, on the grounds that the image of the president in a wheelchair would project an international image of America as weak.

I think much of The Politico’s post is wishful thinking; and of course just because one media outlet publishes an essay advocating this position does not mean that all reporters will or should (or could) follow this advice.

But this is a good articulation of how the relationship between the presidency and the press has changed. Many of my students who voted for the first time this past November will have no idea what this relationship (flawed and often chummy and elitist, though mannerly and often useful) used to be.

Instead of relying exclusively on the traditional skills of political reporting, the carriers of press cards ought to start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death.

In his own way, Trump has set us free. Reporters must treat Inauguration Day as a kind of Liberation Day to explore news outside the usual Washington circles. He has been explicit in his disdain for the press and his dislike for press conferences, prickly to the nth degree about being challenged and known for his vindictive way with those who cross him. So, forget about the White House press room. It’s time to circle behind enemy lines. —Politico

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