He’s had it in for WaPo for awhile, I’m sure, since they were the ones who exposed his embarrassing “John Miller” idiocy and who finally forced him to put his money where his mouth is about donating to veterans’ charities. Not until today did he finally pull the plug, though. Lotta heavy breathing about freedom of the press among reporters on social media this afternoon now that Trump’s gone and done this, but I don’t understand why. WaPo’s as free to publish as ever. Trump doesn’t owe them access. If he wants to make an enemy of a major paper by shutting them out, both parties will adjust to that decision.
I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, “Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting” as their headline. Sad!
Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post.
The Post did indeed use that headline on their Twitter account this morning and Trump’s right that it’s an unfair characterization of what he said. He didn’t claim that Obama was “involved” in the Orlando shooting specifically — but he did pretty clearly imply that there may be dark reasons why Obama doesn’t seem as agitated about radical Islam as other Americans. Is that a credential-canceling offense? Not surprisingly, WaPo’s editor argues that it isn’t:
“Donald Trump’s decision to revoke The Washington Post’s press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along — honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We’re proud of our coverage, and we’re going to keep at it.”…
But it follows a pattern. Trump has repeatedly refused to give press credentials to major news outlets when he disagrees with coverage decisions.
BuzzFeed, Politico, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post are among the other outlets that have been blocked in recent months. Some journalists have described this as an emerging Trump “blacklist.”
In theory WaPo’s journalists can get in line and wait with the rest of the crowd to attend Trump’s rallies — although that didn’t work out so well for a Politico reporter, who tried to evade Trump’s blacklist that way and found himself removed by security for the sin of “reporting at the event without the campaign’s permission.” Fortunately, cable news these days seems to have collectively decided to air Trump’s rallies in their entirety for the duration of the campaign so the Post newsroom can watch them that way with the rest of us. They’ll lose some of the color that comes with being able to interview attendees and getting the eighth thousandth variation of the “he says what I’m thinking!” quote, but journalism will survive.
Ed’s point here is fair, though:
Will be very interesting to see how people who ripped Obama WH over the "war on Fox" react to this. https://t.co/QT7G0GLTOr
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) June 13, 2016
I was one of those people and I’m adamantly anti-Trump so why am I less bothered by Trump pulling the trapdoor on WaPo? One reason is that he’s not president yet. Once he’s elected, he owes the public transparency; punishing a news outlet by denying them access means denying the people insight into how their government is working. He doesn’t owe anyone anything at the moment. The other mitigating factor is that Trump’s bias isn’t ideological. The Obama White House cutting off interviews with Fox News reeked of trying to create an institutional advantage for liberal news outlets by granting them better access to the president. Trump’s policy is more haphazard. It’s not a blanket ban on non-conservative media but a more or less arbitrary “who’s been fair to me?” determination, which means some more liberal outfits continue to have access to him. I don’t mean that to sound like a defense of Trump — denying access due to unflattering coverage for whatever reason would be a problem in a president — but merely to note that this doesn’t squash access to an entire partisan stripe within media the way Obama’s Fox ban might have.
And hey, look on the bright side: A month ago Trump was hinting that his administration might come after WaPo owner Jeff Bezos because of the paper’s unfavorable coverage. Today he’s simply canceling their press passes for his campaign. The old authoritarian is mellowing in his old age. Via BuzzFeed, here’s Trump in a radio interview this afternoon once again winking at the idea that Obama may have some unspeakable motive for being softer rhetorically towards radical Islam than Trump himself, replying when asked what he meant this morning by saying, wink-wink, “I’ll let people figure that out for themselves.” To think, the RNC reportedly asked him “to stay silent” after the attack yesterday.