Eye Roll: Convention Hails WH Journalists as ‘Heroes and Icons,’ As It’s Never a Better Time to Report

The 2019 National Association of Broadcasting convention wrapped on Thursday and, back on Monday, NAB CEO (and former Republican Senator) Gordon Smith waxed poetic love notes to four prominent White House correspondents on-stage as “heroes and icons” to “this younger generation” as the supposedly dastardly Trump administration has made journalism cool again.

And, to make matters sappier, the panelists hailed the journalism done by major newspapers pushing the Trump-Russian probe and collusion hunt as “nothing short of extraordinary journalism” and thus a topic that the press shouldn’t “beat ourselves up” on (even though, yes, they got A LOT wrong).

 

 

PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor first took a stab at that second part, running counter to an astute point made earlier by NBC’s Hallie Jackson about the need for journalists to reflect on what they’ve gotten wrong in the Trump era. Instead, here’s what Alcindor thought (click “expand”):

I think there’s this idea that The Washington Post and The New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize for their work on Russia is something that is still, I think, to be celebrated. So, I think that as much as we — there’s always going to be that need for self-reflection, I think there is also a need to not beat ourselves up and say, “oh, we got this wrong cause the President’s not going — not getting arrested.” I think there are a lot of people who will say, “oh but until — unless the President got arrested and was carried out in handcuffs, The New York Times and The Washington Post, they just made all this up.” no, we still had a foreign government trying to really get at the Trump campaign and really try to influence the elections and I think we should continue to report on that an I think that’s something that’s going to go until 2020 when we look at what foreign governments do and how they impact our elections going forward.

Whether it’s stories like one here by our friend Amber Athey at the Daily Caller or one compiled last year at NewsBusters, the media’s insistence that their collusion delusion is worth celebrating is, well, delusional.

Brown then gushed like journalists did over Obama that he’s heard “from higher education institutions that interest in journalism careers is spiking right now” and thus, in speaking to Alcindor, Jackson, and colleagues Steven Portoy from CBS News Radio and ABC’s Cecilia Vega that “you all are like heroes and icons — all this younger generation.”

Amusing how journalism awoke on Inauguration Day 2017 from an eight year slumber, huh?

Illustrating the media’s love of self, Vega replied by swooning that “in my lifetime, there has never been a better time to be a journalist” because of the “Watergate-level” content being churned out.

She continued (click “expand”):

The journalism that we are witnessing right now in the last four years, to me, is Watergate-level.What we have seen come out of The Post and The Times in the last couple of years has been nothing short of extraordinary journalism. The foundations — the fundamentals of what we do. I hope it is inspiring young people to get into this business because, as — if there is one takeaway, this is an amazing opportunity that we all have to question and challenge with authority the President of the United States every single day and it is a huge responsibility that we all take extremely seriously and — and if people see that and want to run with it into the next generation when, ten years ago, we were all being told this was a dying profession, why are you doing what you’re doing, have it. More power to you.

Moments later, Portnoy asserted that he “hope[s] that young people, in particular, adhere to the standards of objectivity that we have cherished in our business for the last 100 years because it’s a business imperative” to which Brown added is “an imperative to our country.”

In wrapping up the hour-long discussion, Brown told the four that, at NAB, they’re “value[d]” and that NAB is “committed....to what you do to defend the Fifth Estate — the Fourth Estate, whatever it’s called now.”

“It is a corner — a keystone, really, of your democracy and you’re — you’re there everyday defending that. We hope that your companies are helping to defend you with increased security because these are difficult times...We’re thankful for you and we wish every good thing and every amount of safety. Please continue to be that cornerstone of our democracy,” he added.

After listening to any portion of this hour-long event, it’s difficult to come away without the conclusion that there’s no profession that loves itself more and sees itself as the glue holding America together than the journalism profession rather than the Constitution or her people.

To see the relevant transcript from the 2019 NAB Show, click “expand.”

NAB Show 2019
April 9, 2019
51:31 mark

ALCINDOR: I think there’s this idea that The Washington Post and The New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize for their work on Russia is something that is still, I think, to be celebrated. I think that there were so many times that we now read things a year or two later when we literally link back to a New York Times story from two years ago because someone — a reporter had already figured out what the government is now just dribbling out for us to understand. So, I think that as much as we — there’s always going to be that need for self-reflection, I think there is also a need to not beat ourselves up and say, “oh, we got this wrong cause the President’s not going — not getting arrested.” I think there are a lot of people who will say, “oh but until — unless the President got arrested and was carried out in handcuffs, The New York Times and The Washington Post, they just made all this up.” no, we still had a foreign government trying to really get at the Trump campaign and really try to influence the elections and I think we should continue to report on that an I think that’s something that’s going to go until 2020 when we look at what foreign governments do and how they impact our elections going forward.

SMITH: I understand that from higher education institutions that interest in journalism careers is spiking right now. 

ALCINDOR: I love.

SMITH: And you all are like heroes and icons — all this younger generation. How do your reconcile the fact that it’s spiking and, yet, the media’s approval numbers are low. And I’d love for you to comment on whether Trump is the best thing to ever happen to your business as ever.

VEGA: I’m not going to go there. 

SMITH: But we have to pay — we have pay for journalism and, obviously, people are watching you now — like at historic levels.

VEGA: In my lifetime, there has never been a better time to be a journalist.

SMITH: Yeah.

VEGA: The journalism that we are witnessing right now in the last four years, to me, is Watergate-level. What we have seen come out of The Post and The Times in the last couple of years has been nothing short of extraordinary journalism. The foundations — the fundamentals of what we do. I hope it is inspiring young people to get into this business because, as — if there is one takeaway, this is an amazing opportunity that we all have to question and challenge with authority the President of the United States every single day and it is a huge responsibility that we all take extremely seriously and — and if people see that and want to run with it into the next generation when, ten years ago, we were all being told this was a dying profession, why are you doing what you’re doing, have it. More power to you.

PORTNOY: We are — 

ALCINDOR: As someone who went from print to broadcast, I think the thing that I’ve really appreciated about broadcasting is this idea that people see you and people, in some ways, they really can be inspired by just your presence and watching you do your job. It’s a way that, in print, while I love — I loved writing, there — there was — I get notes from little girls that say, “oh, I can’t believe that you’re wearing your hair that way.  My Mom told me that I straighten my hair, but I pointed to you and said, look, she covers the White House. I can keep my hair like that. I think that there’s a level of representation that I never — never thought had — [APPLAUSE] — I just never thought of and I think that that is amazing. Especially when I meet young women who getting into journalism who are like, “I want to be Hallie Jackson. I want to anchor this show.” And this idea that they can — that they can look at us and think that these people are people that are doing their jobs well, to me, feels really, really important and feels like a blessing.

(....)

55:58 mark

PORTNOY: I just hope that young people, in particular, adhere to the standards of objectivity that we have cherished in our business for the last 100 years because it’s a business imperative. 

SMITH: It’s an imperative to our country.

PORTNOY: An imperative to our country.

SMITH: Yes.

PORTNOY: And for those reasons, I am encouraged and enthusiastic about the future.

JACKSON: Yeah. Get at it. I mean, these kids going into journalism school, do it. Do it hard and do it well.

SMITH: It seems like a new book comes out on the Trump presidency once a week at least and I — I have to say, I laugh myself all the way through Katy Tur’s book Unbelievable. [TO ALCINDOR] Have you read that book?

[ALCINDOR NODS]

ALCINDOR: We’ve all kind of lived it. 

SMITH: It’s an unbelievable read.

[PANEL LAUGHS]

(....)

56:52 mark

SMITH: May I — may I express, on behalf of your National Association of Broadcasters, how deeply we value you. How committed we are to what you do to defend the Fifth Estate — the Fourth Estate, whatever it’s called now. It is a corner — a keystone, really, of your democracy and you’re — you’re there everyday defending that. We hope that your companies are helping to defend you with increased security because these are difficult times.

(....)

59:28 mark

SMITH: We’re thankful for you and we wish every good thing and every amount of safety. Please continue to be that cornerstone of our democracy.

NBDaily Media Bias Debate Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe Cecilia Vega Yamiche Alcindor Hallie Jackson Donald Trump
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