Several months ago, President Donald Trump’s administration decided to bar a CNN reporter from an open-press event in the White House Rose Garden, in retaliation for her shouting out a few questions following a photo op between the President and European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. Questions posed by the banned reporter, Kaitlan Collins, ranged from the recently leaked tapes by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. Once again, the thin skin of the Twitter warrior commander in chief was on full display for the nation.
It is understandable for Trump to be upset with the many media outlets that employ predominately left-wing reporters whose personal biases often bleed through into their coverage. Also, the outrage from the left that America is on a continual downward-spiral into a dictatorial nightmare because of one president’s rocky relationship with reporters, is overblown. If anything, the American left should be rejoicing, their cable news bastions, CNN and MSNBC, are seeing record ratings during the Trump years. Freedom of the press is not dead, calm down. There is no need to compare the President to Josef Stalin, as a frantic Senator Jeff Flake (R-Az) did this past year.
But that is all the sympathy the President deserves.
It really is an unprecedented move, seeing as the only other reporter ever banned from an open-press White House event was one that physically assaulted the press secretary on behalf of a Floridian governor. A justifiable reason if there ever was one.
He is a man that champions himself as the defender of the nation against the politically incorrect left that for years has attempted to shut down free speech. Therefore, he even more so than past presidents should make the toleration of all reporters, both hostile and friendly to him, his foremost priority. That’s not what we’ve seen, however. Banning the CNN reporter is just the latest in a long line of hostility towards the press from the President, who has went so far before as pushing for tougher libel laws.
Ironically, the day after Rose Garden incident, the President tweeted his outrage at Twitter’s alleged “shadow banning” of Republican politicians and commentators. Suspicion surrounding how powerful social media platform control their content is amiable. Yet if the President can rightfully see that a powerful media platform possibly suppressing right-wing commentators is wrong, then he should shed his hypocrisy and see that him doing the same to left-wing reporters is no better. If he wants to throw stones, he first needs to step out of his big glass White House.
The President could save himself a lot of trouble if he just ignored questions lobbed at him by incessant reporters. He is not obligated to answer. Yet, for a president that made his name known to America as a blustering reality TV star and body-slamming WWE owner Vince McMahon, subtlety and silence are likely not seen as a virtue.