Monday, July 24, 2017


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     With the departure of Sean Spicer as White House Press Secretary and Communications Director and the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci, a hard charging former Wall Street executive, it appears President Trump is planning to go even more unconventional in delivering his message to the public.  On Saturday, the president tweeted no less than ten times on a variety of subjects.  Trump has been vocal of his criticism of the mainstream media, but it appears the new plan is to bypass them altogether.  Four observations:  
     First, the purpose for daily press briefings at the White House is to put their ‘spin’ on what they are doing.  Trump is not the first president to use the briefings to defend, deflect and solicit support for his agenda.  Every president in modern times used the press briefing as a propaganda tool.  Those who say Trump is the first are either ignorant or dishonest.  The daily briefing is not required of an administration and Trump may elect to discontinue it.
     Second, the press created this credibility situation.  It is highly unlikely that Trump would have been effective in cutting out the media if the media had been doing their job.  Instead of being journalists, they have been editorialists.  The media ‘spins’ every story and that goes for both conservatives and liberals.  Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and the rest have become so predictable in how they cover Trump, it’s laughable.    
     Third, just because Trump is cutting out the middleman, it doesn’t mean the ‘spin’ will stop.  The president is always going to present his view as fact.  When he tweets out a message, he is ‘spinning’ the facts his way.  So long as people understand that.  Far too many conservatives treat Trump’s tweets like divine revelation.  Blind loyalty to any man- conservative or liberal- is a mistake.  As Reagan said, trust, but verify.
      Fourth, millennials get their news and information from sources other than mainstream media.  Social media, such as texting, tweeting, and Facebook are millennials’ go to source for news.  Trump- and Scaramucci- understand that.  Scaramucci said, “I have in my pocket a radio studio, a television, and a movie studio.”  He’s right.  Traditional media is a thing of the past.  Anyone with a smart phone can record and report.
     The founding fathers understood the importance of a free press.  That is why they included it in the first amendment.  A free press, by presenting the facts, can be an effective tool to hold government officials accountable to the people.  They can help educate and can publicize issues that need attention.  The founders understood that.  Unfortunately, the modern press has evolved into nothing more than propaganda actors who ‘spin’ the news to fit their worldview.  It’s unlikely we will see a return to true professional journalism again.  Welcome to the new information age reality where tweeting and spinning are the norm.

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