President-elect Donald Trump last week held his first news conference in about six months. The Shop Talk panelists don't like the way it was conducted.
Panelist Rich Egger said some reporters were turned away because, according to Trump’s handlers, there was not enough space in the room to accommodate all the journalists who showed up. Yet, Trump supporters filled the back of the room and they cheered on the president-elect.
Egger said a news conference should be an opportunity for journalists to ask questions they feel are of interest to the American public. He said Trump should save the cheerleaders for staged events such as rallies and bill signings.
Panelist Will Buss wondered whether he was watching a news conference or the Morton Downey Jr show. Buss feels the combative nature of the briefing was planned and he’s concerned this was a sign of things to come with the Trump administration.
Trump has called reporters liars. Buss said that’s unprecedented and un-presidential.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton called the news conference a circus and criticized Trump for labeling CNN a fake news organization. During the news conference, Trump refused to take questions from CNN correspondent Jim Acosta. Crighton said other reporters should have supported Acosta, perhaps by re-asking the question he was trying to get answered.
Crighton said many politicians try to keep reporters at bay but Trump is taking it to a level we haven’t seen before.
Egger said the presidents this century – George W. Bush and Barack Obama – were increasingly secretive and it looks like Trump will withhold even more information from reporters and, hence, the public.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.