Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondent Press Dinner. Though Trump has had a contemptuous relationship with the press for the most part, it is an extremely uncharacteristic move for a president. In fact, the last president to miss one of these annual dinners was Reagan, who was recovering from being shot. Trump’s contempt for the media puts America on a slippery slope from democracy to dictatorship.
The idea that the president of the United States would carry an attitude of contempt for the press so far as to disrupt the diplomacy of the White House. Trump holds the highest office in the land and if he can’t maintain his temper and contempt for the press, whose job it is to report on his administration’s actions, how can we expect him to explain with foreign dignitaries.
Donald Trump is running the White House the same way he has run many of his failed business ventures, from a place of pride and need for control. One of the most important duties of the president is to put his personal feelings and pride to the side for the better good of the country. I can only imagine how foreign leaders are looking at us and laughing. We have an administration that can be sent on edge by a tweet, a parody on television or even a story in the paper that does not tell a narrative it agrees with.
The media is our first line of defense from tyranny and dictatorship. Before Trump was even sworn in, he had started his attempt to shut out the press. We watched him hole up in his apartment in Trump Towers, where the press could see people coming in and out but had no access to Trump until he decided to come down for photo ops. He purposely attempted to duck the press member assigned to travel with him at all times.
In addition, Trump has tried to limit the White House Press Corp access to White House press briefings. Trump wanted to hand pick who would be allowed in the room, choosing media outlets that report on him and his administration favorably. Donald Trump has taken aim at discrediting certain media outlets, such as CNN, which he has labeled “fake news”.
This President is very different from what we’ve gotten used to in the white house the last 16 years. George W. Bush’s administration dealt with the worst terror attack to take place on American soil, Hurricane Katrina, where dozens died waiting for federal assistance and even war. The press was extremely hard on Bush, especially during the Katrina aftermath. While, Bush may have come off as flippant, and even lackadaisical at times in his handling of situations, he remained jovial with the press.
Barack Obama, who as the first Black president, faced an insurmountable level of scrutiny through the press, never lost his cool in his dealings with the media. In fact, Obama was so smooth with his responses to tough questions, some wonder if he could be phased by anything. As a Black president, he had no choice, he had to be better than those before him.
Now we have Donald Trump, who like many of the good ol boys of the south which he has added to his administration, believes that blunt, brash and crude are the way to go. I watched Meet the Press this weekend and my jaw dropped. One of Trump spokeswomen basically told George Stephanopoulos that she could sum up why Trump wasn’t going to the White House Press Correspondents dinner with a phrase they use in the south, “if a girl scout egged your house would you buy cookie from her?”
George himself couldn’t help but laugh at the spokeswoman went on to say that Trump didn’t want to play that game of being in the room pretending that the tension wasn’t there and that he had more important things for the country he would be working on that night.
Donald Trump’s attempt to limit the media reporting on his and his administration’s actions and directives are no different that the dictators in North Korea, Russia and Cuba. What he is attempting to do is no different than what Adolph Hitler did when he took power. Dictators don’t just cut off all forms of media, instead, they only allow media that supports the regimes propaganda.
Don’t be fooled by the little president who cried hurt feelings. Donald Trump knows exactly what he’s doing and so do many members of the mainstream and individual press. That is why they are the enemy, according to the sitting president of the United State.
I hope this reality show that has become America gets cancelled soon.
Thinker, Avid Reader, Couch Potato. Sapphire Hill is a writer from Baltimore Maryland who loves to delve deeper into the whys of everything. Staff writer for 86 Blvd and Badd Magazine. Blogger and talent promoter for Sapphire Spotlight On Talent.