[guest post by Dana]
Who can blame him?
While some individuals believe that Trump’s opting out of the dinner “suggests he’d rather resign than divulge his taxes, much less divest his assets,” more rational people seem to either not really care, or can understand why the president would decline the invitation. And then there is the priceless response from members of the media…
At one time, political preferences and the advocacy for specific politicians was reserved for the Opinion pages, but for media watchers, we have witnessed the political preferences of journalists become commonplace in the reporting of hard news. There can be no doubt that this president would be facing a hostile crowd. And for a profession where the job is to report the news with at least an appearance of objectivity, to have been repeatedly caught flashing its biased underpants while simultaneously proclaiming members will be fact-checking this administration, (one assumes when not pushing Fake News), the absurdity of such an assembly becomes all the more apparent. Even if for one night. This is what happens when journalism happily surrenders to eight years of Obama worship. There can be little doubt that the preferred side of the aisle remains the left side. And if you’re The New York Times, and just now announcing that “the truth if more important than ever,” all that does is confirm our suspicions that truth really wasn’t the priority these past eight years. Thus the cynicism with which we regard you is obviously well deserved. That said, why would President Trump voluntarily subject himself to an inevitable onslaught of angry and venomous mockery from a group still licking their wounds from the devastating election loss which resulted in their preferred candidate being relegated to attending Broadway shows when she’s not wandering the woods of New York.
Of course, if President Trump had not been exposed early on for telling untruths and denying he said what he provably did say , as well as revealing his own authoritarian tendencies toward the press, the relationship may not have soured as quickly. Further, when the President of the United States continues to blast the mainstream media and refers to specific outlets as Fake News and enemies of the people, as well as echoing Steve Bannon’s accusation that the media “is the opposition party,” it’s easy to see why he would not want to face an assembled group of enemies. And let’s face it, this president is far too thinned-skin, insecure, and petty to be able to enter a den of lions with any amount of self-deprecating humor and aplomb. And while President Trump has made himself an easy target ripe for the picking, there should be no doubt that any Republican in the Oval Office would be targeted by a left-leaning press. It’s just that President Trump has given them way more red meat than I think any other possible contender would have. You can argue that it’s because he is not a politician, nor experienced in the ways of Washington, but I would suggest that to say that is to willfully ignore his fundamental character flaws which are the biggest stumbling blocks of all.
The best thing that can come out of this would be an end to the WHCA dinner. At a moneyed schmooze fest where politicians, journalists, and Hollywood come together in an unholy alliance of smug, self-congratulatory bluster and bullshit, lines get crossed that shouldn’t be, if maintaining impartiality in reporting really matters.
Both the press and the president have shown themselves to be more than willing to be less than honorable when it suits their agendas. Distrust of both is not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s prudent to view both with a big healthy dose of suspicion. They brought this on themselves.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)