The White House recently adopted what's described as a "screw the media" strategy to make it more difficult for journalists to do their jobs. And the U.S. Senate took action to reduce media access to its members.
The Shop Talk panelists are highly critical of both policies.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton said the White House is simply trying to harangue the media to discourage journalists from reporting on what it is doing. She said the president should work with the media to make sure information is reported accurately – which is what journalists want.
Crighton also said the Trump administration prefers to bypass the media by using Twitter. She said that prevents reporters from asking questions and digging up more information. She said press access should be viewed as a good thing for the American people.
Crighton and Will Buss said the administration seems upset about the adversarial nature of the relationship between the White House and journalists.
Buss said journalists are supposed to be adversarial. He said that doesn’t mean reporters and politicians have to be at each other’s throats, but he said journalists shouldn’t be expected to roll over and be lap dogs either. He said reporters are expected to dig for details.
Rich Egger said the attacks on media access should worry the general public because journalists ask questions on behalf of citizens. He said most journalists strive to do good work and inform the public.
Egger said the use of Twitter to release information in lieu of news conferences is not acceptable. He said people in the past would not have allowed an administration to get by with only printed and/or recorded new releases, and people today should not accept this type of strategy either.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.