- The Washington Times
Monday, February 13, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mainstream media isn’t liking the new set up at the White House: Lesser name news outlets are being called on during press briefings, rather than the old, established bellwethers.

During his press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Donald Trump called on two news outlets: WJLA a local ABC news affiliate, and the Daily Caller. Both failed to ask him about the fate of his national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, who has been marred in a controversy that he spoke to Russian authorities before Mr. Trump took office.


And the mainstream media immediately pounced – saying Mr. Trump was picking favorites in order to avoid questioning on Mr. Flynn.


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“By handpicking reporters, Trump manages to get through a news conference without being asked about Flynn,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker lamented on Twitter – failing to mention that all U.S. presidents handpick reporters.

Bloomberg’s Angela Greiling Keane helped him clarify.

“By *handpicking* friendly reporters. To be fair, the previous WH also handpicked reporters. But it was very different than this,” she tweeted.


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Mark Murray at NBC News was equally flummoxed.

In response to a tweet from Lizzie O’Leary – who aptly pointed out that White Houses have been calling on specific reporters “they know won’t grill them since time immemorial,” Mr. Murray responded: “But not during bilateral pressers with world leaders, where questions typically go to wire reporters (AP, Reuters).”

Hadas Gold at Politico, quoted NBC Journalist Brian Williams, who noted on-air “what wasn’t being asked” at the press conference, adding the New York Times and Washington Post weren’t called upon.

Deputy Washington Editor of the New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, wasn’t pleased.

“Biggest papers in the U.S. blare headlines on embattled National Security Adviser Flynn. Trump calls on WJLA & Daily Caller, no Flynn questions,” he tweeted.

Too bad.

The reporters at WJLA and the Daily Caller may have dropped the ball in their line of questioning – but that’s not Mr. Trump’s fault.

The mainstream media – especially CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post – have largely been combative of Mr. Trump’s presidency. Why would they think they would then be given preferential treatment at his press conferences? Because they’re the establishment?

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding here.

It’s refreshing to see a White House give voice to lesser known news outlets – it’s more democratic in a way, opening the press corps up to different lines of questioning.

For, the mainstream media have tried to control the narrative for way too long. Their complaining they’re losing it is comical.


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