New York Times media reporter Michael Grynbaum wrapped up the anti-Trump year for the press in “Trump’s Year of Escalating Press Tensions,” on the front of Thursday’s Business section.
Grynbaum lamented the good old days of the Obama administration:
It can be easy to forget that, two years ago, the White House press briefing took place nearly every day. The president refrained from insulting reporters on live television. And correspondents did not lose their access for showing insufficient “respect.”
The rituals of reporting on the White House, and the place of journalism in American life, continued to shift in 2018 under President Trump. On Twitter, he used the term “Fake News” 174 times, nearly once every two days.
Refusing to deal with CNN showboat Jim Acosta makes you complicit with dictators to the hypersensitive U.S. press (click "expand")
Presidents usually hold a holiday reception for the Washington press corps (even Mr. Trump acquiesced to one in 2017); this year’s edition was canceled. Presidents usually avoid criticizing American journalists on foreign soil; visiting Britain, Mr. Trump called NBC News “dishonest” and refused to take a question from Jim Acosta of CNN. (“Music to the ears of dictators and authoritarian leaders,” said an official at the Committee to Protect Journalists.)
For a politician who calls the news media “the enemy of the people,” the president seems to relish interacting with it. Mr. Trump granted more than 70 interviews this year, to news outlets ranging from ABC News to “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” on WABC-AM, a local drive-time radio show. That tally does not include his impromptu remarks at photo-ops and Marine One departures, which on occasion stretched for nearly an hour.
The president’s preferred venue, however, remained Fox News, whose prime-time and morning shows amounted to a Trump cheering section beamed into millions of homes. The cable network secured 18 interviews with the president this year; Fox Business had three more.
Journalists there have grumbled about the blurred line between the administration and some of the network’s star commentators. On the eve of the midterm elections, Sean Hannity rallied onstage with Mr. Trump in Missouri, high-fived the White House deputy chief of staff, Bill Shine -- himself a former Fox News co-president -- and jeered reporters in the auditorium as “fake news.” In 2010, Mr. Hannity was chastised by Fox News executives, including Mr. Shine, for scheduling an appearance at a Tea Party fund-raiser.
Grynbaum has hit Fox News before, complaining this summer that “The Trump-Fox connection... extends beyond friendship and flattery to outright advocacy.”
Speaking of media coziness with presidents...Grynbaum didn’t acknowledge the revolving door during the years of Democratic presidencies. To name only a few, there was George Stephanopoulos, the Clinton spokesman and senior adviser-turned-ABC News omnipresence (and undisclosed Clinton Foundation donor). There was Linda Douglass, who went from CBS News to the Obama administration. And CNN is at perpetual war with the administration.
Neither did he (or cowriter John Koblin) mind that MSNBC had become a “safe space for liberals” during the first months of the Trump administration. While knocking Fox’s “Trump cheering section” on Thursday, MSNBC’s anti-Trump peanut gallery was lauded for ratings success in the March 2017 front-page profile that he co-authored: “It was a day after a Maddow milestone: Her Wednesday show outranked that of her Fox News counterpart, Tucker Carlson, in total audience and the coveted 25-to-54 demographic.”
He insisted that Trump’s indiscriminate insults hurled at the press were in fact mired in racism and sexism:
Other presidents sparred with the press. Mr. Trump makes it personal.
He called April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks a “loser”; replied to Abby Phillip of CNN by saying, “You ask a lot of stupid questions”; dismissed a query from Yamiche Alcindor of PBS as “racist”; and told Cecilia Vega of ABC News, “You’re not thinking -- you never do.” All four reporters are women of color.
Questioned about the president’s treatment of female reporters, Ms. Sanders said Mr. Trump treated them no differently from their male colleagues. (He has called Mr. Acosta “a rude, terrible person.”) Another reporter, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, was barred from a Rose Garden event after aides deemed her questions “inappropriate.”
And anecdotes about unrelated violence against the press were lumped together with anti-Trump knocks, leaving the impression the attacks were somehow linked to Trump:
Threats to the press this year went beyond words....In Maryland, five newspaper employees were killed in a shooting. The motivation was not believed to be political, but the attack led news organizations to tighten security measures. Press freedom groups have called this year among the most dangerous for journalists in recent memory.