Journalists tell the truth, they serve as a watchdog, and sometimes they are PR professionals’ worst nightmare. Willing to tell the truth, even if it’s ugly; staying unbiased and brutally honest with the public: the job of a journalist. But how is a journalist supposed to do their job and serve the American people, if the President is now longer allowing them to?
Most PR professionals would say that it is always better to be transparent, but not the Trump administration. Recently, President Trump and his controversial communication team progressed their distaste for the media in to shutting them out.
This weekend, the media is grappling with the concept of controlled media. On Friday, the White House blocked various news organizations from attending an informal //www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/3732ef32-fad2-11e6-aa1e-5f735ee31334“>briefing. Throughout almost every presidency in history, there has been a pool of reporters present at any important moment for the President. They are present to update the people and provide transparency of the President’s job dealings. While it’s alarming that our government isn’t allowing an industry to do its job, to keep those of higher authority accountable; it’s important to pay attention to which news companies were blocked.
Those that were blocked: The New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and Buzzfeed.
Those permitted to attend: CBS, NBC, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Time, and the Associated Press.
The outlets that were blocked have one thing in common: they have written damaging pieces about President Trump and his administration. On the other hand, those that were permitted to attend are considered “sympathetic” or “friendly” to the administration. The Associated Press, Time, and the Washington Post did not attend the briefing, even though they were allowed to, in protest to the restrictions made by the White House.
“A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people because they have no sources — they just make it up,” said President Trump.
Trumps’ reasoning for shutting those agencies out is that these reporters are “dishonest” and “fake.” The whole movement is ironic because the White House is claiming that these sources aren’t getting their facts right, however, the White House isn’t allowing these reporters to attend briefings that would provide info straight from the lion’s mouth. Even if they information provided for reporters at these briefings is incorrect, there guaranteed credibility when the reporter quotes and relays statements made for later pieces or articles.
“It is not the job of political leaders to determine how journalists should conduct their work, and sets a terrible example for the rest of the world,” said the group’s executive director, Joel Simon. “The U.S. should be promoting press freedom and access to information.”
The White House is partaking in appalling reputation management by blocking journalists out that have a history of reporting news that is potentially damaging the administration’s reputation. Certain news agencies have painted President Trump in a negative light. Then, President Trump claims that these news sources are illegitimate and deceitful; thus blocks them from the White House and prevents them from doing their job.
NPR’s correspondent, David Folkenflik, has experience with being a part of the White House reporting pool. He discusses the underlying reasons for this media blockade…
“Part of it is, I think, that it reflects the inclination and gut instincts of the president himself, who seeks adulation from the press and attention. And when he doesn’t get it in the way he wants, he gets very angry. I think that there is a stoking of that and an encouragement of that in a certain wing of the White House – let’s say the Steve Bannon wing…”
Journalists and public relations professionals will, probably, have a complicated relationship forever. But this is just wrong. This is a matter of reputation management manipulating the concept of freedom of information. These actions hurt the reputation management industry, the news industry, and the American people.