The election of Donald Trump has been a punch in the gut for the liberal media. The constant barrage from the now president-elect against reputable news sources like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico and others during the campaign is unlikely to stop.
As recently as mid-October, Donald Trump threatened to sue The New York Times for its article covering his sexual indiscretions. In just a few months, he will have the weight of the Justice Department to do his bidding, which surely sends shivers down the spines of the Sulzbergers.
One of the hallmarks of a strong democracy is a protected and free press.
Newsrooms that have disagreed with Donald Trump’s political approach will have more reasons to cover, investigate and factually criticize the next president of the United States. If Trump tries to shut up the Fourth Estate, we the people (or traditional Third Estate) will have to fight to retain the constitutional right to speak up against our government, whether through the courts or by other means.
Will Trump have a media enemies list? P.J. Bednarski of MediaPost wrote a cogent commentary on what could happen if the vindictiveness we saw during the campaign seeps into Trump’s time in the White House.
This apprehension shouldn’t discourage.
Rather, it can usher in an era of more rigorous reporting in search of what is truth and what is fabrication.
Jacob Weisberg editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, who also hosts the Trump-critical 'TrumpCast,' joined David Plotz, Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson on this week’s 'Political Gabfest,' where he discussed the role of Slate in the Trump administration.
“My only positive feeling when I woke up this morning was that Slate has never been so necessary or so important,” Weisberg told Bazelon and Plotz on November 9. “The basic truth-telling function of journalism is going to be more necessary than it’s ever been, and more under siege than it’s ever been.”
“There are these tremendous natural forces to normalize Trump, and now that he’s won the presidency, to treat him and treat this like it’s an unusual but acceptable phenomenon in American politics. As a member of the press, as someone who leads the business side of a news organization, I feel our role is to not be strident, not be hysterical, but to tell the truth and describe the reality.”
“And to stand up for the idea of rationalism and an enlightened approach to policy and ideas. Fake news is just one expression of the whole rejection of a rationalist world-view. You can’t give in to that and say: Well you have your facts, and we have ours.”
“You have to uphold rationalism and reality as a cause.”