“They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name,” he said speaking recently at a conservative political convention.
Does Trump speak from experience here? Is he is a journalist? In 2012, Trump quoted anonymous sources about President Obama’s birthplace that his “birth certificate is a fraud.” But at the recent political event, he didn’t mention his own use of “sources” when pushing fake news.
I wonder why.
And while our new president now hates these kind of reports, we know stories about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn included anonymous sourcing -- something that lead to his resignation/firing.
But if those stories weren’t credible, why did Flynn have to go? So what if Flynn didn’t tell the truth to Vice President Mike Pence. Since when does Trump make staffing changes in response to anything the media reports?
We know Trump is a provocateur. But telling the media how it should work is absurd, ridiculous, insulting, and wrong. There are no laws in this regard. Is he familiar with the First Amendment?
Years ago, I worked for an owner of a TV business publication who insisted we should name all people in our stories -- no matter what. Nobody would be on-background, off-the-record, or anything in between.
I’m told him no; that isn’t going to happen. Information doesn’t always flow that way -- not for journalists, and, I’m guessing, not for the intelligence community.
How about for the business community? CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Borger said as a businessman, Trump is used to signing nondisclosure agreements with business associates or former employees -- all to keep information private.
Running the U.S., as the leader of the executive branch, isn’t nearly the same. The Constitution supports freedom of the press. That means lots of the press can write different stories -- and can compete with each other. And with that comes responsibility; there are libel laws if published reports are untrue and are shown to cause the subject harm.
Which brings us to Trump and his lawyers, a pairing we are going to see a lot of in this administration. President Trump is threatening to “do something about” the press. No doubt authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin would agree.