Time To Repeal And Replace The White House Press Corps
After delivering his remarks on GDP growth topping 4% in the second quarter, Donald Trump did not take any questions from the White House press corps gathered on the South Lawn. It was the right decision both politically and for the country. Allowing questions would not have resulted in the American public learning more about the economic policies driving the economy. Actually, the opposite would have happened. It would have degenerated into another confrontation between the media and the president over matters that have zero impact on the well being of the nation. And, indeed, as the president and his team of economic advisers were walking back into the White House a couple of reporters could be heard shouting questions about Russia (their favorite obsession) and Michael Cohen.
In retrospect, it would have been better for the country if the Trump administration had followed through with its proposal to evict the media from the White House grounds. When the idea was floated, the White House press pushed back saying that removing them from the West Wing would be a disservice to the American people. Democracy dies in darkness, they said. However, after the performance they have turned in since inauguration day no fair minded observer would say that they have brought enlightenment to the masses. The same press that could barely stop themselves from applauding after every Obama press conference now cannot contain its disdain for Donald Trump. Their partisanship is so transparent that one could replace them with officials from the Democratic National Committee and no one would able to tell the difference.
The country, our democracy needs a skeptical, ideologically diverse White House press dedicated to informing the public. Behaving as the president’s fan club is just as harmful as behaving as the president’s mortal enemies. The never ending antics by Jim Acosta, the constant hostility from April Ryan, the countless hours spent on asking the same questions about the latest manufactured outrage or pointless “scandals” like Stormy Daniels (everyone knew Trump was a womanizer) is toxic for our democracy. When abroad, the open warfare between the Trump and the traveling White House press has created visible discomfort for the foreign officials sharing a press conference with the president. It is damaging to our country and it must end.
Trump’s frustration with the mainstream media is perfectly understandable. Disproportionate coverage has been given to the Mueller investigation while any news that reflect well on the administration has been given short shrift. It should be clear by now that tweeting “fake news” and “witch hunt” is not going to address the problem. Sarah Sanders reading touching letters from American children to the president or baking pies for the press will not make any difference. The Trump administration needs to accept that his election represents a personal defeat for mainstream media. They truly believe the Trump administration represents a triumph for white supremacy and feel a moral obligation to do everything in their power to destroy it. It’s not rational. It's not fact based. No amount of evidence that the Trump policies are benefiting minority communities more than his predecessor will change their minds. Banning individual reporters will only intensify the visceral anger the mainstream media has for the president. The only solution is to replace the current White House press with reporters from around the country to cover the administration. Create a new, rotating White House press that will reflect the country at large instead of the New York-Washington bubble. It is what our democracy needs.