RTDNA objects to WH ‘screw with the media’ strategy

June 23, 2017 11:30

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force today spoke out strongly against a current White House strategy to “screw with the media,” according to a CNN report, resulting in a “toxic relationship” with the press.
 
The report, by CNN’s Dylan Byers, says, “the White House press office has opted for an ad-hoc strategy intended to screw with the media – the language used inside the White House is stronger – and make them look ridiculous. It will go several days without a briefing; then, when media frustration over the lack of access reaches a fever pitch, it will hold a conventional briefing. The next day, it may hold the briefing off camera, starting the process over again. The result is a toxic relationship between the White House, which thinks the press should be less adversarial, and the media, which believes its job is to be adversarial. Both sides believe the other side is acting in bad faith.”
 
“There often are difficult relationships between administrations and the Fourth Estate, but not since the Nixon days have we seen such rancor between a White House and journalists,” said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Incoming Executive Director, who spearheads the task force. “In fact, I believe the current administration’s view of responsible journalism may be among the most acrimonious in our nation’s history. This does not serve the public well,” Shelley added.
 
RTDNA is a non-profit, nonpartisan professional association that to works to protect the rights of electronic journalists throughout the country, promotes ethical standards in the industry, provides members with training and education and honors outstanding work in the profession through the Edward R. Murrow Awards. Since its founding in 1946, RTDNA has spoken out against administrations of both political parties whenever they have attempted to obstruct the public’s right – and more important, its need – to know what the nation’s most powerful public officials are doing.
 
This morning, White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Mason issued a statement about his organization’s attempts to get greater access at White House briefings:


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As it has all along, RTDNA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force stands with the WHCA in its efforts to improve the relationship between the White House and the responsible journalists who cover it on behalf of the American people.
 
“Our mission is not to harangue the Trump administration at every opportunity,” Shelley said. “We would prefer to praise it for granting more open access to reporters at the White House and throughout the federal government. Unfortunately, so far, the President and his team have done everything from labeling reporters ‘the enemy of the people’ and ‘the opposition party’ to using hateful rhetoric against the press, which has enabled their supporters to increase the level of vitriol against the news media,” Shelley added.
 
RTDNA formed the Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access, and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. People wishing to support RTDNA’s efforts may reach out to the task force by emailing pressfreedom@rtdna.org.