The liberal media, which failed spectacularly in their effort to defeat Donald Trump as president, now faces the prospect of seeing their traditional role as arbiters of the news emanating from the White House completely upended when Trump takes office in January.
As I have previously written, the media loved Trump during the primary campaign as he defeated far more prominent Republican challengers with a grass-roots campaign that attracted tens of thousands of supporters at campaign events across the country.
The Trump candidacy was a gold mine to the liberal media—particularly cable television news channels whose coverage of Trump campaign events sent their ratings, and their profits, skyrocketing. That’s what they loved about Trump. But when it came to his policies and commentaries, they relentlessly bashed and criticized him. All, that is, except for Fox News, which for the most part treated Trump very fairly from the start.
As the presidential campaign wore on it became clear that Trump was running not only against Hillary Clinton, but the liberal media as well.
On election day the media were confident that Hillary Clinton had enough of a lead to easily win the Electoral College and become the first woman president in American history. They were so sure in fact that they had begun prepping headlines, magazine covers and analysis on how she achieved her historic victory.
Well, we all know what happened, as Trump broke through the “blue wall,” winning Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan and handily winning the presidency with 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.
Since the election, the media have been trying to figure out how they will cover a president who they worked so hard to defeat, and who holds them in such high disregard as a result.
Both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have declared that they will cover Trump fairly and honestly. CNN said they will hold Trump’s “feet to the fire.” But by and large the media aren’t sure what they will do or how they will be treated by the most unconventional president in history.
One suggestion on how Trump should handle the media comes from former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Trump should take back control of who sits in the White House briefing room, since the liberal media occupy most of the 49 seats available. Fleischer thinks the dot.com media should have access as well.
My colleague Cliff Kincaid said something similar on AIM’s Bias Buzz podcast—which, by the way, aired before Fleischer’s piece in the Journal—suggesting that organizations like Accuracy in Media and James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas be given White House press credentials and put the liberal media in the back of the room.
Those kinds of suggestions send shudders through the spines of the media, as they can see that they might no longer be front and center when reporting on the White House. Trump’s frequent use of Twitter, with which he makes and shapes news, only reinforces that idea.
The Trump administration has a golden opportunity to reshape and redefine how the media cover the White House, and to end a process that has confined front-line reporting to a handful of journalists with an agenda that is often not in line with those of most Americans.
The balance of power is shifting and the liberal media are just going to have to adapt to this new world press order.