By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media
It’s no secret that the Trump administration has established a “new paradigm” in dealing with the press. It’s something we have advocated from the start of the new administration. One major aspect of the new approach is accepting the conservative media as legitimate members of the press. After this produced changes in how the press covers the State Department, the gnashing of teeth really began.
Liberal reporters weren’t interested in the anniversary of the conflict in Syria that has taken 500,000 lives. They wanted to know why a reporter from a conservative outlet was allowed on a State Department plane to Asia. They saw it as a challenge to their power and authority, and peppered the State Department spokesman with hostile questions.
“Can we move beyond this?” pleaded Mark C. Toner, the acting spokesperson, as reporters displayed their selfish attitudes on press access.
The liberal media were in meltdown mode over the decision to bring Erin McPike of the Independent Journal Review (IJR) on the official plane carrying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Asia.
A Reuters story, “Conservative website only media on Tillerson plane to Asia,” captured the sorrow. In the briefing room, the sorrow erupted into grief and barely-controlled anger.
“This is a conservative outlet,” protested Michelle Kosinski, a Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for CNN, referring to IJR. She added, “For the White House, or whoever made this decision, to choose an organization that is not part of the pool and is an obviously conservative website or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t that narrow the message and not broaden it? And what message does this send to the American public and the rest of the world?”
The message it sends is that the old liberal media, also known as the “obviously liberal” media, are not as important as they once were. It means that the new Trump administration wants to accommodate the new media.
Please take a moment to watch or read a transcript of the State Department’s March 15 briefing. It is something to behold. Some reporters seemed on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Actually watching the briefing gives you an insight into the reporters berating the spokesman for the department. They are not identified by name in the transcript.
The State Department acknowledges trying to reach a new audience by including a conservative reporter. Toner called it looking outside the box. He explained, “I think it sends a message that we’re willing to look at new paradigms with our approach to the media, again, while at the same time ensuring that traditional media has full access, and non-traditional media for that matter.”
It is a realization that the liberal media monopoly is still in the process of disintegration.
The new way of doing business was not acceptable to CNN’s global affairs correspondent Elise Labott, who countered, “So does that mean that in your effort to include a broader participation of U.S. media, that the foreign policy journalists and diplomatic press corps that have traveled with the secretary for ages and are steeped in the issues of foreign policy and that are at this podium questioning about U.S. policy and the various developments every day are being kind of excluded?”
You get the point: only the established liberal media “steeped in the issues of foreign policy” have the credentials to cover the State Department and get special seats on a State Department plane.
Keep in mind that reporters can still take other flights to the destination to cover the secretary of state.
Labott’s foreign policy expertise was exposed in emails released during the presidential campaign showing that she worked with an aide to Hillary Clinton to discredit Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for his tough questioning of the then-secretary of state during a Benghazi hearing in 2013. AIM’s Don Irvine called Labott “nothing more than a shill for the Democrats, masquerading as a reporter.”
It appears that somebody in the White House and/or the State Department understands this as well.
Yet, the arrogant Labott insisted that the IJR reporter “does not know anything about these foreign policy issues.”
Later, at the briefing, another reporter protested the new “pick-and-choose system whereby you select individual reporters or news organizations, rather than going with what had previously been the practice, which is to include a wide array of news organizations, and at a minimum, a wire service reporter who would share the information with all the other regulars and whose news organizations have very wide dissemination of their reports?”
Of course, the fact is that conservative media are able to disseminate information as well, and their audiences count for something, too.
A new day is dawning.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.