This whole on-camera, off-camera, audio-only, no pens or notebooks thing with daily news briefings at the White House is beyond old. It’s a real problem. Donald Trump, I’m sorry I meant Steve Bannon, is forging ahead with efforts to subvert the free press and work without scrutiny of or approval by the public. All we know is we’re getting tired of CNN’s Jim Acosta spending five minutes telling us about why they don’t have a story.
Journalists, the banner-carriers of America and Democracy, stand ready to meet this new threat. Well, some of them. It’s helpful to know a few things about journalists: One, they would rather be Jon Stewart than Walter Cronkite, and two, would sell their mother down the river for a sake of a good story. And they always could have covered a story better than the other guy. We have said this many, many times and it was true, but we digress..
This conversation took place yesterday among reporters and hacks in back-room barrooms, corporate cubicles and the lobby of Trump Tower, where all journos hang out, otherwise known as Twitter. Some of it is helpful, and some of it…let’s just say their work should be so creative. The names have been withheld because, that’s what we do in the age of Trump.
- “Even if ever so subtle, trump has created an atmosphere of intimidation. This is the way we lose freedom, slowly, a dab at a time.”
- “Which is precisely how terrorists work! That’s the feeling of insecurities and being afraid to act as you would have at any other time.”
- “No one has ever risked anything important for our republic before.”
- “Journalists in the room can’t complain as long as they remain compliant and complicit.”
- “Agreed. I keep hearing it’s ‘unprecedented.’ Well, legal precedents don’t write themselves.”
- “If only they had some kind of bone-thing in their back that controls movement and is a metaphor for courage.”
- “What, like a dildo?”
- (Caption on an early photo of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story) If you became a journalist to shine a light on evil…to make a difference…to speak truth to power, we have one question for you. What the everloving fuck are you waiting for?
- “They’re under the mistaken impression that if you break a rule you have to leave the White House.”
- “’Give me liberty or give me…’ What happens if I turn on my iPhone’s video recorder function, exactly? Hate to break a nail.”
- “If only journalists in the briefing room had pocket sized cameras capable of shooting video and connecting to the internet.”
- “Or pocket-sized amounts of courage capable of motivating them to proudly assert 1st amendment rights on behalf of the public they serve.”
- “And maybe people could make phone calls with such a device, too.”
- “Can someone just install a microwave? Isn’t there already a coffee machine in there?”
- “Pretend they are making popcorn.”
- “Hopefully they can get a good sketch artist to capture the mood and get it to the printing press before the trains leave.”
- “What can the White House do to them if they do video? Take away their access?”
- “Maybe the Russians can get recording for us.”
- “That is likely to get the journo thrown out. Could lose White House credentials, threaten their job. They are not rich. Good jobs are hard to find these days.”
- “Obscene how journalists can’t take the risk of recording press conferences while protestors risk arrest in GOP offices across the country.”
- “Serious question: What would be the penalty for video steaming press conference? Question two: What would MLK do? Question three: What would Gandhi do?”
- “Journalists should at least have what police officers do. Body cams. After all, reporters are the police of truth.”
- “Journalists should stop attending White House briefings. The only purpose is for WH to provide false and misleading info and badger reporters.”
- “One thing’s for sure. We’re earning every inch of our descent into darkness & despair.”