One of the repeated themes in NBC reporter Katy Tur's Trump-campaign memoir Unbelievable is her fear of the Trump mob ripping her to pieces. For example, one metaphor was "They turn all at once, a large animal, angry and unchained. I force a laugh." Why would anyone hate me, she asks, when I am merely an embodiment of the "notion of objective truth"?
Or she's like a Christian about to be thrown to the lions. (That's a weird choice for a secular liberal.)
The crowd loves it. They turn at once to boo at us in unison. Six thousand Trump supporters railing against thirty or so journalists -- caged in the center of the arena like a modern-day Roman Colosseum.
When do they release the lions?
What happens if someone in here can't take a joke?
Trump doesn't seem to care. [Italics hers.]
Tur repeatedly argues that she understands that Trump supporters don't like Trump being criticized, but she, like many correspondents, argues that she represents "objective truth."
You feel like you're screaming at the top of your lungs in a room full of people wearing ear plugs. I get it. What i don't get are the little old ladies in powder-pink MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN HATS calling me a liar. I don't get the men in HILLARY SUCKS -- BUT NOT LIKE MONICA T-shirts. I don't get why protesting a broken political system also means you need to protest the very notion of objective truth. Because of Trump's war on the media, networks have required a traveling security detail except for Fox News (which hasn't been so demonized) and CBS (whose main correspondent is a guy who looks like he might be named Major -- and is).
Journalism is "honestly pursued," and people just don't like this fearless honesty. (And the humility, well the humility is off the charts, isn't it?) An older man yelled at her, and unsettled her:
I think we dislike and ultimately distrust the media because journalism, honestly pursued, is difficult and uncomfortable. It tells us things about the world we’d rather not know; it reveals aspects of people that aren’t always flattering. But rather than deal with journalism, we despise journalism. And in the case of this older gentleman, we end up yelling about it.
“You female reporters are so obtuse,” he screams, and this time I definitely hear him, although I don’t know what he means.
I do understand the particular antipathy a person might feel toward a reporter who is covering a politician they love. After all, politicians spend millions of dollars trying to make millions of “friends.” Their whole careers depend on convincing you that they know you, care for you, and are defending your interests...[That goes for network anchors, too, Miss Tur. Ever seen a Lester Holt or David Muir ad???]
So imagine how you would feel if every time you turned on NBC, you saw my reporting on this figure you love – this figure you think will lift you up, save your job, make your country great again. Imagine how you’d feel if every night and all day this little blond-haired girl was shining a critical light on your beloved figure. Who is she to question his plans? Double-check his statements? Follow up on his promises?
You would hate me
And people do.
That's all Tur thinks she's doing: holding Trump accountable. Double-checking his statements and following up on his promises. She never thinks she's suggesting he's an extremist making inflammatory statements that disqualify him for the presidency, or to quote her book, that Trump is "petulant and loud," he has the "grace of a falling piano," and unfurls sentences that "call to mind an aerial shot of a burning, derailed freight train." This is why she explains "I don't know what he means" when she's being called obtuse. (As for "you female reporters," her gender isn't relevant, unless the assumption is that female reporters favored Hillary more than the males.)
Tur thinks that people just don't understand that without reporters, politicians just spew propaganda. She doesn't realize that her networks, NBC and MSNBC, were seen by conservatives and Republicans as spewing all kinds of propaganda over the last decade on behalf of Barack Obama, and then Hillary Clinton.
Information coming directly from a politician or his team, without being vetted by reporters, is little more than propaganda. No American voter accepts one-sided accounts in their personal life. We wouldn’t trust our teenager’s perspective on a fender-bender. We wouldn’t trust a single co-worker’s description of a crucial meeting. We wouldn’t even wholly trust our best friend’s version of a nasty breakup. We look for holes in the story. We look for more information. We should demand the same in politics. And yet so often we do not.
We really have to start teaching journalism in elementary school. People don’t even understand the basics of what we do any more. [Italics hers.]
Skip ahead just a few lines in the book, and she’s cheering “in the aftermath of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape, the anti-Trump brigades have some newfound flair. Many of the signs say the same thing: HANDS OFF MY PUSSY, with pussy replaced by a pictogram of a cat." The press corps love the scene....but not because they hate Trump. Surely not!
We all rush to one side of the bus to get a shot of the signs.
And here I thought the anti-Trump WE SHALL OVERCOMB or THERE WILL BE HELL TOUPEE signs were clever. [Italics hers.]
It’s not that reporters want pictures of the signs because they are anti-Trump. It’s because Trump himself had to drive right past them on his way in. Unless he was closing his eyes, he couldn’t miss them.
We can imagine Katy Tur would also suggest Lester Holt didn't appear to favor Hillary when he told Hillary to her face that he "winced" when a college student suggested she wasn't honest, and asked like a fanboy "do you get your feelings hurt sometimes?" So much for "we just double-check statements" and we make journalism "difficult and uncomfortable" for people.