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News Media Needs A Little More Decorum

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News Media Needs A Little More Decorum

News Media Needs A Little More Decorum
January 31
18:17 2020

The east coast news media is all atwitter (pardon the pun) over the kerfuffle between National Public Radio reporter Michele Kelemen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  They apparently had a misunderstanding as to the subject and scope of an interview.  That happens … a lot.

This confrontation was more notable than most because Pompeo expressed his umbrage in no uncertain terms.  According to the media, when a reporter acts in bad faith, the subject is supposed to simply grin and bear it.

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Kelemen was subsequently removed from the list of media to travel to Ukraine with Pompeo.  The press demanded to know why?  Well, duh!  We all know why.  She pissed off the Secretary.  Whatever you might think of that decision, it is well within the right of the Secretary to determine who will be part of his overseas entourage.

Pushing back against a left-wing reporter will bring out a full counterattack by the liberal press.  The reporter will be described in beatification terms as a person of great skill and integrity. After all, they were just doing their job.  We saw the same boilerplate reaction when Senator  Martha McSally brushed off CNN’s Manu Raju by calling him a “liberal hack.”

To be honest, I hate to see those kinds of exchanges in our civil discourse, but we are living in divisive and strident times.  On the other hand, I also do not like those tempests-in-a-teapot being promoted by the news companies as something akin to child rape.

Reporters known for their characteristic rudeness and aggressiveness become snowflakes when they get similar treatment. When it comes to bullying – of which they accused Pompeo – the media is among the more notable offenders.

By my own experiences, I have seen the media operate with greater aggressiveness and hostility over the years.  And it tends to be one-sided in opposition to Republicans and conservatives.

The very media that is crying out loud in defense of Kelemen and Raju, are the same folks that blast FOX News and other less liberal outfits daily.  For all intents and purposes, the liberal media sees themselves as the untouchables of journalism.  They are above criticism while criticizing those who express other journalistic viewpoints.  Therein lies the arrogance.

While ruing incivility on the public commons, the press engages in any number of practices that exempts them from their own advice.  They all act like paparazzi when hunting down public officials they do not like.  They engage in invasions of privacy and (illegally) invade private property.  They accept stolen goods. They protect the identity of wanted criminals.  They reject legal subpoenas to testify. They wallow in gossip through “unnamed sources” – and have been caught making up sources and stories.

There may be no more privileged and arrogant residents of the Fourth Estate than the White House Press Corps.  They seem to believe that it is their “right” to have access to any and all information they desire.  They see themselves as the fourth co-equal branch of government – claiming constitutional protections not available to we mere citizens.  So much for no person is above the law.

When given access to the President of the United States, they act like a bunch of shoppers on Black Friday – screaming and shouting without any consideration to place and purpose.

Were I President of the United States, I would re-establish a more proper and professional relationship with the press.  First and foremost, I would move them out of the White House mansion and into the neighboring Executive Office Building – where there is more space and better accommodations.  There is no good reason for them to be freely roaming the halls among top presidential policy advisors.

President Trump is accessible to the press more than any President in history.  He invites them to observe meetings, events, press conferences for heads-of-state, and walk-by interviews when he goes to-and-fro the White House.  I would probably be less available than Trump, but I would most certainly require that they stop the screaming and raise their hands for recognition.

I would establish regular press availabilities to ask open-ended questions, BUT I would limit questions to subject matter on other occasions.  Often during White House press briefings, members of the Cabinet or senior White House staff make special announcements or stand for questions relating to their duties.

More than not, those exchanges are totally ignored because the press engages in unrelated political gotcha questions – and only they get reported.  I find it particularly offensive and discourteous when such unrelated questions are posed during press conferences with other heads-of-state.  The purpose of such visits is significant and deserves proper reporting.  Instead, they are largely ignored.  Unless it is a major head-of-state, there is virtually no reporting of the visit at all.

In a free society, it is important for the news media to be able to pursue information in a fair and balanced way, but that can be accomplished without allowing the press corps to operate like a bunch of rabid junkyard dogs.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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1 Comment

  1. lou
    lou February 03, 20:12

    Are you ‘reporting’ on the Mary Louise Kelly/Pompeo dispute???

    Reply to this comment

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