Not even two weeks have passed since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, but the media has already managed to squeeze several years worth of anti-administration whining into that short period of time.
The mainstream press engaged in a collective freakout last week when President-elect Trump ditched his so-called “protective press pool” in order to attend a celebratory dinner with his family at the ’21’ Club in Manhattan. The move was an unprecedented and “unacceptable” breach of protocol, reporters complained, because the press needed to know the next president’s whereabouts at all times.
Members of the media complained on Twitter that Trump supporters and other media critics did not understand the crucial role of the press.
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) November 16, 2016
So Trump ditched his press pool tonight to grab a steak dinner– a terrible violation of protocol that his defenders will probably cheer
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) November 16, 2016
It's not about press "having the privilege", it's a service to the American public, & some ppl who don't like press don't understand that https://t.co/Y6ZTbirxQU
— Noah Gray (@NoahGrayCNN) November 16, 2016
Not a good sign for future pool coverage of Trump as POTUS…
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) November 16, 2016
Trump’s “ditch and dine” maneuver came after reporters had been complaining for days that Trump’s transition team was denying access to reporters wishing to accompany the president-elect on his first trip to Washington, D.C. for a series of high-level meeting related to the transition.
“Not allowing a pool of journalists to travel with and cover the next president of the United States is unacceptable,” said Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Perhaps the media has only itself to blame for being ignored. Completely missing from the howls of outrage over Trump’s alleged mistreatment of the press is any mention of how the Obama administration has been running roughshod over transparency precedents for years.
After promising to lead “the most transparent administration in history,” President Obama has cracked down on government official who leak to the media, spied on the Associated Press, has tried to shut off access to news agency photographers, and has one of the worst records of any president when it comes to fulfilling basic transparency requirements, such as responding to media requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
When it comes to FOIA requests, the Obama administration routinely withheld information and set a record for the number of times federal officials “couldn’t find” any documents responsive to the requests. The Associated Press found that in nearly a third of FOIA cases, the Obama administration could not legally justify an initial decision to withhold or censor records.
The media has complained about these infractions from time to time, but never with the ferocity they have reserved for their tirades against Trump, presumably because Trump violates the delicate sensibilities of the New York-Washington media and cultural elite in ways Obama does not.
Or maybe it’s because most journalists are Democrats and generally support Democratic president, regardless of their atrocious records when it comes to transparency and freedom of the press. According to 2016 survey by Politico, not a single member of the White House press corp was a registered Republican, while more than 25 percent were registered Democrats.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?