COMMENTARY: The week of Thanksgiving I discovered I was "deceitful" and "dishonest;" at least according to reliable news sources.
"Freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments." - Thomas Jefferson
The week of Thanksgiving I discovered I was "deceitful" and "dishonest," at least according to reliable news sources.
If they’re correct, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, President-elect Donald Trump had railed against the media during a meeting at his Trump Tower, repeatedly saying he was in "a room of liars" and calling the media "deceitful" and "dishonest."
As a columnist writing for GateHouse Media’s "The Suburbanite," I can only assume his charges include my colleagues and me. As such, I, and I’m sure they too, denounce being called deceitful and dishonest by anyone.
I’ve always prided myself in giving the benefit of doubts to new presidents by observing the 100 day honeymoon phase immediately following the inauguration and consider it to be a two way street. However, because of Trump’s accusations, it sounds as if he prefers to forego that period.
Trump condemns Hillary Clinton for labeling half his supporters as "a basket of deplorables," and then makes a blanket condemnation of the nation’s media. But it wasn’t the media that slighted American war hero Arizona Sen. John McCain, a fellow Republican himself and 2008 presidential candidate by belittling his prisoner of war record. It was Trump.
It wasn’t the media that said they’d rebuild the nation’s highways and byways for one-third the cost, monitor Muslim mosques, jail Hillary Clinton and never take a vacation. It was Trump.
Nor was it the media that said, among other outlandish things, what they’d do to terrorists and their relatives, shut down parts of the Internet or reinstate water boarding. That was also Trump. The media only reported it.
Trump’s meeting commenced as the media scrutinized him for his lack of press access. As of this writing he hasn’t held a press conference since winning the election and has yet to accommodate a protective pool, which would allow a member of the media to always accompany him.
This latest brouhaha came about after Trump had emerged from his New York skyscraper, moving about the nation's largest city without a pool of journalists on hand to ensure the public has knowledge of his whereabouts.
Every president and president-elect in recent memory has traveled with a pool of journalists. They travel with the president everywhere; even on vacation and foreign trips to capture history in the making. There were reporters and photographers in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. They were with President Ronald Reagan when he was shot in Washington D.C., and even outside the hospital while he recovered.
According to news sources, Trump called out CNN president Jeff Zucker at the meeting by name and said, "I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed." Journalists and executives from CNN, NBC, CBS, and Fox who were among those in attendance at the Trump Tower meeting were taken aback at the outburst.
I’ve followed Trump as closely as possible since last month’s election and at times his actions have become so unbelievable, you just can’t make this stuff up. Trump needs to be reminded of the long held media aphorism about never picking fights with those who buy their ink by the barrel.
While Trump seems to enjoy playing cat and mouse with the press, he leaves no doubt in my mind that his diplomatic skills at best, are elementary. He may fudge with the message and try to control it, but he can never eliminate the messenger. Not in a nation where freedom of the press is as revered as freedom of religion, freedom of assembly or the pursuit of happiness.
Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com