The delusional mainstream media are trying to convince the American people that President Donald Trump is persecuting the press. At every opportunity, the talking heads howl about this administration’s alleged hostility toward journalists.
In reality, Trump has been the most accessible president in history, contrary to the narrative of the major media outlets that have directly profited from this access. This fact drives the press crazy.
Take, for instance, the lengthy press conference Trump held on Nov. 7, the morning after the midterm elections, during which he answered scores of questions on a number of wide-ranging topics.
During the 90-minute session, the president answered 68 questions from 35 reporters on issues ranging from Russia to impeachment. In direct contrast, President Barack Obama took 22 softball questions from 10 friendly reporters during the brief press conference he held following his party’s devastating 2010 midterms defeat.
Rather than taking advantage of Trump’s unprecedented accessibility, reporters such as CNN’s Jim Acosta used their question time to berate the president. After refusing to give up the microphone to other reporters in the room and sparring with a White House intern, Acosta made headlines by complaining that Trump didn’t show him enough respect.
Even some mainstream media outlets, however, have begun to acknowledge that this president is far more open to reporters than his predecessors.
“There is more access to this president than Obama,” observed CBS’ Major Garrett. “We see him and interact with him and punch in questions with far more frequency than with Obama. Probably more so than for (George) W. Bush.”
ABC News’ Rick Klein agreed that Trump is “above and beyond, far and away more accessible” than the two previous occupants of the White House. ABC’s Jonathan Karl added, “I have probably had more opportunities to ask questions of President Trump over the past two weeks than I had of President Obama during the last two years of his presidency.”
That’s because Trump believes in being transparent and accessible. On virtually every trip between Marine One and the Oval Office, Trump stops by the press pool to take questions. Much as he did at the post-midterms press conference, he’ll take any question reporters throw at him.
Even when reporters barrage him with insulting, nasty questions about unfounded investigations and decisions he makes at the highest levels — which they seem to do at almost every public appearance — the president answers them.
It’s true that Trump sometimes verbally spars with reporters who position themselves as his antagonists, but that’s nothing compared to what Obama did to reporters during his presidency.
Unlike Obama, Trump doesn’t threaten reporters with criminal prosecution. According to The New York Times, Obama — who had campaigned on a promise to protect government whistle-blowers and leakers — used the Espionage Act to prosecute nine cases against such people. That’s more than all previous administrations combined.
If Obama didn’t like what a journalist was reporting, he didn’t attack him or her on Twitter — he hit them with the long arm of the Justice Department. Members of the media don’t appreciate how good they’ve got it covering the Trump administration.
Trump may play hardball on social media, but by making himself so available to the media, the president has demonstrated through his actions that he actually supports open political dialogue more than any president in history.
What Trump refuses to do, however, is allow the mainstream media to publish fake, unsubstantiated and inaccurate reports about his policies. Holding the press accountable for mistakes is also a crucial part of political dialogue — and the media should stop equating Trump’s criticism to the persecution of journalists.
Harlan Hill is a political adviser, media commentator and an advisory board member of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.