The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Jeff Mason, claimed tonight that the media was not “Fake News.”
Mason began by discussing the accomplishments of the media in recent months and their interaction with President Trump, saying, “We have worked very hard to build a constructive relationship with his [President Trump’s] press team. There are clear dividends from those efforts. The press is still in the White House briefing room, and we are still on Air Force One.”
In fact, press access under President Trump has been very good. With all of the tension in the relationship, that aspect is often overlooked. We have had several press conferences, repeated opportunities to see and report on the president’s meetings, and with at least one notable and lamentable exception, good access to briefings with press staff and senior administration officials. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the rhetoric that has been employed by the president about who we are and what we do. Freedom of the press is a building block of our democracy. Undermining that by seeking to delegitimize journalists is dangerous to a healthy republic.
“It is our job to report on facts and to hold leaders accountable. That is who we are. We are not fake news.” said Mason, “We are not failing news organizations and we are not the enemy of the American people.”
Recent polls, however, show that most Americans believe that the media is, in fact, the enemy of the people. A Morning Consult survey showed that 37 percent of people surveyed trust the White House versus only 29 percent who favor the political media. Forty-eight percent of those polled believe that America’s political journalists are harsher on President Tump, compared with only 16 percent who say they are easier.