By Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director
When Donald Trump did verbal battle with Jim Acosta of CNN at Wednesday’s news conference and repeatedly refused to recognize the reporter for a question, the president-elect again showed his inability to get past anything or anyone who he believes has wronged him, regardless of whether there’s any truth to the perceived slight.
Such was the case with the Acosta incident. CNN had provided some reporting related to the now largely debunked brief claiming the Russians had damaging information on Trump. They did not report any details from the actual document, however. Nevertheless, the president-elect decided the network was guilty of purveying “fake news” and he engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Acosta when he tried to ask a question at the newser.
As has become all too often the case with our soon-to-be 45th president, the facts are easily lost in his “attack dog” style of treating the media. And that was the case here.
CNN didn’t report “fake news.” But that accusation—and the resultant melee at the news conference is another example of what Trump does best—control any situation, at anybody’s expense. In doing so, especially with the media, Trump also scores more political points with his voter base, many of whom believe the press is a dishonest and corrupt institution anyway.
Some pundits opined that Trump would change and mellow when he actually moved into the White House. Much as we might wish that would be the case, it’s hard to be optimistic after witnessing sessions like the one we saw Wednesday. The inauguration is a week away!
Like every other media organization, RTDNA hopes the president-elect will, at some point, appreciate the fact that both the government and the press are institutions which are vital to our way of life. One of the most important parts of our job is to hold political officials accountable, including the President of the United States.
President-elect Trump needs to realize that some level of cooperation with the media, rather than his constant confrontation, will ultimately serve all of America best. But regardless of how Trump treats the media, one thing is certain: We’ll always be there to tell the story.