Tag Archives: journalists

Trump shows jaw-dropping lack of awareness

Donald John Trump continues to demonstrate a shocking, astonishing, dumbfounding, jaw-dropping lack of awareness and context.

A journalist who lived in the United States walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, is kidnapped and then butchered — while he was still alive. The journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered because he challenged Saudi Arabian policy of intolerance against freedom of expression.

His murder has brought glaring worldwide attention to the open hostility that many governments have against journalists.

So, what does the president of the United States do? He goes to Montana to campaign for U.S. Greg Gianforte and then heaps praise on him for the “body-slam” he put on a reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian in 2017.

Trump in effect condoned violence against the reporter, Ben Jacobs. By implication, he sounds for all the world as if he believes it’s OK for public officials to react with similar violence against media representatives.

Does this sound like a head of state who has any understanding or appreciation of the context of his comments? Does he understand what he’s saying and the potential implications of his condoning violence against those who simply are trying to chronicle the news to those who need access to information about their government?

This man disgusts me at so many levels …

But, what the heck. His base loves hearing the garbage that flies out of his mouth, which is the only consideration about which Donald Trump cares.

Afflicting the comfortable no longer in vogue?

There’s a saying that a free press’s key mission is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

At the risk of sounding like a whiny baby who never got invited to one of these gigs, allow me now to say that the Washington Correspondents Dinner is a disgrace to the high-minded mission that the D.C. press corps is supposed to fulfill.

Check out this essay about what’s become of this annual event:


There’s something more than mildly offensive about seeing reporters and their dates parading along a red carpet, a la the Oscars, Tonys, Emmys and the ESPYs.

Those of us who toiled out here in the Heartland — aka Flyover Country — always have thought there ought to be a natural tension between the power brokers and those who cover them, reporting on their dealings to the “unwashed masses” who depend on journalists to tell them the truth.

Here’s how Patrick Gavin describes the event that occurred over the weekend: “What started off decades ago as a stately formal celebration of the best of presidential reporting has morphed into a four-day orgy of everything people outside the Beltway hate about life inside the Beltway—now it’s not just one night of clubby backslapping, carousing and drinking between the press and the powerful, it’s four full days of signature cocktails and inside jokes that just underscore how out of step the Washington elite is with the rest of the country. It’s not us (journalists) versus them (government officials); it’s us (Washington) versus them (the rest of America).”

Boy, howdy. I couldn’t have said it better.

The D.C. press corps has become something of an echo chamber, where journalists parrot each other’s views and simply cannot wait to be seen in the company of the famous and the powerful. In their own minds, that seems to fit the description of the people who cover government.

I loved Gavin’s note that unlike some of the other dinners — such as the Gridiron — where presidents occasionally are absent, POTUS’s attendance at the correspondents dinner seems to be required. Gavin writes:  “The last president to skip it was Ronald Reagan in 1981 and — let’s cut him some slack — he bailed because he had just been shot.”

The press’s mission to afflict the comfortable now seems almost quaint. How can it do so when the comfortable include the very journalists who keep slapping the backs and yukking it up with the folks they are sent to cover?

I much prefer the tension that is supposed to exist between the media and the government. It keeps everyone — reporters and their sources — a little more honest.