Everyone who has paid any attention to the Trump administration in general and President Trump in particular knows that the President’s relationship with the press can at best be described as contentious (and that is actually being pretty generous). Liberal news outlets like CNN and MSNBC apparently take great joy in recording the President calling them out during one of his Make America Great Again rallies, and the President is only too happy to oblige them by pointing fingers at the liberal “news” outlets cameramen and boisterously proclaiming the networks “Fake News”
But is Trump the only President to ever have a less than friendly relationship with the media? The answer to that is a resounding NO!!!
Shannon Duffy in an article written for the blog “Frederick W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon” made the following statement concerning America’s first President and his relationship with the press:
“At the time of his inauguration, George Washington was described in almost universally glorified terms by the national presses. However, by the end of the President’s first term, hostile newspaper writers were attacking the administration’s domestic and foreign policy. These attacks escalated in Washington’s second term into personal attacks questioning his integrity, republican principles, and even military reputation. While the harsh attacks may have initially backfired on Washington’s political opponents, the President’s bad press signified the opening of a new type of political force, and one that had significant effects on the course of the Washington presidency”
The relationship between the White House and the press didn’t really show any significant improvement in the years (and administrations) that followed. This was expounded upon By Ryan Mattimore on the History Channel’s website. Mattimore outlined various stories of toxic relationship’s between the forth estate and the Executive Office
The article begins outlining the troubles that Thomas Jefferson had with the press of his time, Jefferson was the leader of the “Democratic-Republican” party (if you can imagine such a thing) and although he is often regarded as very pro-press he was also notable for comments like:
“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”
You have to admit that the above quotation (with perhaps some slight modification in terms of language) could appear on President Trump’s twitter feed tomorrow, and would be a completely accurate statement considering the media’s obsession with the daily compilation of articles and stories that basically boil down to “Orange Man Bad”, most of which have little (if any) semblance to the accurate reporting or the truth.
Mattimore’s article on the History channel’s website explored the tensions that existed between the press and a plethora of Presidents that include both Republicans and Democrats such as Wilson, Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, Nixon and Clinton. In an article written by Ken Phillips and published by ABC News (The Australian Broadcasting Company, not the one that can’t tell artillery damage in Syria from machine guns being utilized on a firing range) Phillips discusses the media difficulties faced by Frankling Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and a host of others, and yet the American media would have you believe that the world began in January of 2017 and while the quick to criticize Trump they (the media) are extremely slow to mention any other President’s media difficulties (except Nixon perhaps).
The explosive relationship between the Trump White House and the Media began quickly as POLITICO began to criticize the administration and started what has become a never ending series of “fact checks” (fact checks that were strangely missing during the previous administration) early in January of 2017. When Donald Trump claimed (correctly as it turns out) that the “Fake News Media” provided very little coverage of Barack Obama’s “57 States” remarks “The Hill” was quick to fact check this story – unfortunately rather than fact checking President Obama’s remark (and hopefully discovering that there are not in fact 57 states), Morgan Gstatler authored an article in “The Hill” fact checking, you guessed it – President Trump
In what might sound remarkably like carrying Obama’s water (perhaps because it was) Gstatler penned the following:
“Obama had been on the campaign trail for 16 months at that point and he was rebuked in the media and online for his remark, the Times noted.
Suitably Flip blog, a campaign website at the time, unveiled an American flag lapel pin with 57 stars.
They began selling the pins to mock the Harvard-educated then-senator from Illinois over his mistake.
Obama’s blunder was also seized on by conspiracy theorists who falsely claimed that he was not born in America or was Muslim.
Trump was part of the “birther” movement against Obama, claiming for years that the former president was born outside of the U.S. Obama eventually released his birth certificate to counter the claims. Trump acknowledged that Obama born in the U.S. during a campaign stop in 2016.”
Apparently regardless of how idiotic a remark President Obama might have made, criticizing the “Harvard-educated then-senator from Illinois” was/is/and will always be considered bad form. An internet search for articles ‘rebuking’ the young then-senator return sparse results, while articles rebuking Trump for daring to mention such a thing at all are plentiful.
Fast forward to today and observe the massive amounts of criticism that are directed at the Trump administration for what is constantly regarded as his disdain for the press (who have done all that they possibly could to be worthy of such) and then look at the amount of criticism that Democratic Presidential Candidates receive for their negative comments about various media outlets. Take for example the New York Times and Washington Post, no secret that Trump considers both of the organizations “Fake News” and has gone so far as to cancel government subscriptions to both papers as noted in a “Wall Street Journal” article by Andrew Restuccia. This action was (rightly or wrongly) panned by a vast number of media outlets. But is Trump the only person to have an adversarial relationship with the Times? Not at all, Socialist darling Bernie Sanders has had major issues with the media as of late, but finding any US based media organization to document such a thing can be downright impossible. Fortunately a recent article appearing in “The Guardians” outlines an increasingly tense relationship between Sanders and the Media
“….. the Vermont senator’s campaign has repeatedly questioned the alleged biases of the mainstream media in recent days, leading some to compare Sanders to the president he hopes to defeat.
While media-based complaints are nothing new for Sanders, they come amid an increasing willingness among the broader Democratic presidential field to harshly criticize the press – even as violence against US journalists has escalated and the president’s hostile rhetoric of “fake news” continues unabated. To some observers it now seems the anti-media accusations of the right are being mirrored on the left….”
The Washington Post has not been immune to criticism from Sanders as NBC News (yes that NBC News) discussed in a recent article entitled “Why Bernie Sanders can’t stand the Media” author Alex Seitz-Wald points out
“From Sanders’ earliest days in politics, the populist outsider has consistently leveled a structural critique of the news media that he views as being as much a part of the corrupt “establishment” as corporations and their lobbyists.
He’s complained about media consolidation and corporate ownership, an ethos of political reporting that favors the horse race and personality — “gossip” — over policy and substance, and a belief that the mainstream media dumbs down the discourse to distract the masses from its advertisers’ agenda.”
The article continues, outlining Sanders somewhat toxic relationship with the media that began while he (Sanders) was the mayor of Burlington,
It’s a posture that Sanders carries to this day, portraying himself as the righteous underdog standing up to the forces trying to silence him
If anything Sanders’ relationship with the Washington Post has been even rockier than his relationship with the times as noted by Seltz-Wald:
“But it was Sanders himself who touched off the biggest controversy by suggesting on the stump that The Washington Post covers him negatively because it is owned by Bezos, a frequent Sanders villain”.
“I wonder why the Washington Post … doesn’t write particularly good articles about me,” he said in New Hampshire. “I don’t know why. But I guess maybe there’s a connection.”
So naturally major media outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post disparage Sanders for his anti-media stance – not so much as it turns out. The Times regularly publishes articles with such alluring titles as “Why Bernie Sanders is tough to beat” and a lengthy glowing portrayal of Sanders which appeared in the Times opinion section recently, there have also been articles with titles such as “President Bernie Sanders” and “The case for Bernie”
The Washington Post despite their ongoing feud with Sanders and despite being called out by the Socialist as a part of the evil “Corporate Media” (which perhaps sounds better than “Fake News”) still can’t help being enamored with the guy as evidenced in a recent article by Eric Wemple the Post’s (don’t laugh) “Media Critic”, even while attempting to criticize and rebuff Sanders, Wemple apparently can’t help but be somewhat enamored by him
“Attacking the “corporate media” is good politics for Sanders, and his critiques sometimes land with heft and reason.”
An exhaustive internet search failed to uncover any articles in the Post or Times praising Trump’s “heft and reason”. Rather the Post writes articles such as the recent “Donald Trump Whiner in Chief” and the very non-partisan (kidding) article entitled “New book finds Donald Trump erratic and Dangerously uniformed”, if that doesn’t sound like an article that is planning to praise Trump’s “heft and reason” it’s because its not.
Perhaps it’s fear of re-education camps that causes the media to treat Sanders with kid gloves despite Sanders’ aversion to them (the media), while slamming Trump with non-stop “Orange Man Bad” stories. Or perhaps the majority of editors and journalists actually believe that a Socialist government in America would be a good thing, after all when the government tells you what to write, when to write and how to write it then being a media fire-fighter becomes a much easier task.