The major media have warned that Donald Trump would wage a war on the First Amendment. His quick draw to call out bad reporting, boot disruptive journalists, and mock fake news were obvious signs that the freedom of the press would hang by a squib during the Trump administration.
And, lo, it came to pass Monday that all their fears were realized. Did the new President sent red-hatted mobs to smash printing presses and hijack the cable news to run non-stop ads for Trump Steaks? Even worse. In his first official White House press briefing, Sean Spicer called on reporters from the wrong side of the tracks.
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) January 23, 2017
— Doug Sovern (@SovernNation) January 23, 2017
Priorities, Day 1: Spicer calls on NY Post, CBN, Univision, Fox News. So far top newspapers & broadcast networks shut out.
— Mike Grynbaum (@grynbaum) January 23, 2017
a;jsidn’ae’lk4i’31;;,,, <cracks ampule of smelling salts> Sorry, had a fainting spell there.
Apparently, in an unwritten rule precious only to careerist Beltway journos, the Press Secretary calls on an Associated Press reporter first then follows with questions to other large media companies. For the first time, Spicer chose less storied agencies for the first handful of questions. Did he blacklist journalists from CNN, the New York Times, etc? No, he got to them a few minutes later. In fact, Spicer stayed as long as the reporters wanted, answering questions for well over an hour.
What so appalled the press was that Spicer upset the media’s caste system. After calling on the New York Post, he went to CBN (Christian cable network), Univision (Spanish-language channel), Fox Business Network, and American Urban Radio Networks (African-American focused service). He also announced the creation of “Skype seats” that will allow reporters who live 50 miles or more from Washington DC to ask questions.
Opening questions to journalists outside of the Acela corridor seems like a big win for the First Amendment and the freedom of the press. More diverse questions and voices are sure to result. It seems the only casualties are the egos of reporters for traditional media.