Dear Media: If White House screws with you, screw back

Donald Trump lives and dies by the mainstream media. Fox News may be Trump’s mistress, but CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times are his one true love.

Trump is desperate for good coverage from the mainstream media. The media should use that leverage to its advantage.

Trump is once again screwing with the media. From CNN’s Dylan Byers:

Amid this chaos, the White House press office has opted for an ad-hoc strategy intended to screw with the media — the language used inside the White House is stronger — and make them look ridiculous. It will go several days without a briefing; then, when media frustration over the lack of access reaches a fever pitch, it will hold a conventional briefing. The next day, it may hold the briefing off camera, starting the process over again.

Trump has reportedly threatened to can the daily briefing entirely, to ban CNN from the White House, and we all saw what happened yesterday, when Trump refused to let cameras record the daily briefing, or to let the audio be broadcast live.

To paraphrase Ayn Rand, the media needs to shrug.

Trump is desperate for positive coverage — and not from Fox; but from CNN, the Post and the Times. It’s time for the media to recognize its power, and just say no. When the White House says turn off the cameras, don’t. What are they going to do? Arrest 50 reporters? Maybe they’ll cancel the briefing — so let them. Trump hates bad news. He’ll freak if Sarah Huckabee’s creates a media firestorm. So let her.

It’s been said before that Woodward and Bernstein never attended the daily briefing. Having said that, I think it’s an important event, as it permits the press to raise issues, with the cameras on, and publicly put the White House on the spot. That’s why turning the cameras off is such a big deal. On LGBT rights, for example, it was incredibly helpful during the Obama administration to have the media pepper the press secretary with questions about why Obama was dawdling on this issue or that. Transparency matters for democracy.

While it’s clear that the media has gotten increasingly fed up with Trump, I still feel that too many punches are pulled. When Sean Spicer told a reporter earlier this week that he hadn’t talked to Trump in the past six months about whether Trump believes Russia interfered in the election, the room should have been in an uproar. Russia’s ongoing efforts to undermine our democracy, including the potential that Russia may change the results of the 2018 and 2020 elections, is incredibly dangerous. The fact that the White House doesn’t agree speaks volumes to just how corrupt this administration is. That kind of confirmation merits an uproar. And it’s time the media made one.

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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