Trump’s Remarks About Journalists Are Unacceptable, But Unsurprising

So much of what is happening in America lately is, to put it simply, unfathomable. Many actions may seem appropriate for an earlier time period, but are strikingly out of place in the “modern democracy” of the United States (quotation marks seem necessary). I could reference about any number of topics, from the growing evidence that Trump tried to stop FBI investigations into ties to Russia to his expansion of a policy he revoked early in his presidency to give U.S. aid to abortion providers across the world. I want to focus, though, on something close to my heart: the treatment of journalists under Trump’s administration.

In the aftermath of the explosive New York Times report that Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating his also-former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, another appalling tidbit was lost in the chaos. Trump suggested that Comey “Consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information,” writes Michael Schmidt.

This remark is startling at best and deeply troubling at worst. It is reminiscent of authoritarian governments and starkly un-American values. It is also, sadly, not a surprise coming from Trump, who has displayed malice towards journalists at every step of his path to the presidency.

Now, in the Oval Office, he still can’t see that journalists are an essential part of a democracy. I mean, it’s probably hard for him to see this, considering the impact of journalism on his reputation. Just this week, outstanding reporting from journalists at the Washington Post and The New York Times brought quick and serious implications; from calculated throwing around of the word “impeachment” — from both political sides — to the worst day in the stock market since Sept. 2016.

Interestingly, as Politico reporter Josh Dawsey noted on Twitter, Schmidt, the journalist who wrote about Trump asking Comey to stop investigating Flynn, was the same journalist who first broke the story about Hillary Clinton’s private email server. So was Schmidt “out to get” Trump? Or did he simply use the same journalistic rigour he applied to a story about Clinton to write a story about Trump?

As a journalism student, I am inspired by the persistence of journalists who cover Trump. They are up against serious odds — barred from press briefings, not invited to meetings with foreign officials, for example — and often have to decipher fact from fiction when White House officials blatantly lie (this is not to say that there haven’t been problems with media coverage of Trump, because there have). Journalists keep going, though, because what they do is important. The public has a right to know what is happening in their government, and journalists fulfill this critical role of gathering and communicating information.

Trump’s treatment of journalists both on the campaign trail and as President is unacceptable. But it is also unlikely to change. As the newly-appointed special prosecutor begins his investigations, I can only see journalists rightly continuing to cover Trump. But, sadly, I can only see Trump continuing to berate and belittle journalists in return.

What do you make of Trump’s comments about journalists? Let me know in the comments! | Follow me on Twitter | Bloglovin’ | Header image source

25 thoughts on “Trump’s Remarks About Journalists Are Unacceptable, But Unsurprising

    1. Respectfully, I disagree. My blog is a place where I share my thoughts, and I happen to have a lot of thoughts about Trump. I am not going to stop writing about him, because he is doing things that, as I write in this post, are unacceptable and deserve to have attention called to them. In a time when basic principles and rights are being threatened, it is incredibly important to discuss what is happening, and that is what I aim to do through writing about Trump.

  1. I really do enjoy political commentary; really interesting insight. Btw I agree, your blog is about whatever you want it to be. WordPress is about expression, denying the right is absolutely ridiculous.

  2. I remember when Trump and Clinton were up for President. I really didn’t agree with either of them. You see, I wasn’t always a Trump supporter. In fact, if I’m honest, I don’t agree with everything he does today either. But he does try his best. Not sure what to believe now days if you know what I mean.

  3. It’s great to see you sharing your thoughts on such an interesting and important issue. The fact that Trump has talked about punishing journalists for publishing official information is concerning – not just because it threatens investigative journalism, but because it’s also being considered here in the UK too:

    I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the Trump vs. Media battle, and it’s scary to think about what could happen regardless of who wins. If it’s the President, then there’ll be cries of a dictatorship, whilst if it’s the latter, there’ll be anger at the media elite, and concerns the press have too much power.

      1. It is concerning, although I don’t think it was Trump which caused our government to consider this change in the law. Nevertheless, it’s very worrying…

  4. I’m so glad you wrote about this because as a person wanting to go into journalism Trump’s comments scare me. He is creating a culture where it is okay to call all media “fake news” just because he doesn’t like it. I saw a documentary about Nixon and he hated the media too! Both of them share that and Nixon believed the media was his enemy. I think both Nixon and Trump see the media as their enemy because they either don’t like the truth or it’s not exactly what they want to hear.

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