President-elect Donald Trump’s private meeting with mainstream media executives and news anchors at Trump Tower today allegedly provided a forum for the new commander-in-chief to forcefully vent about media bias.
According to an alleged account from an insider, the sit down was “like a f***ing firing squad,” the New York Post reported.
On the other hand, senior advisor and former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway described the off-the-record gathering as “very cordial, very productive, very congenial,” the Washington Post detailed. “It’s great to hit the reset button,” she added.
Trump, a former Democrat and independent who ran on the Republican ticket, supposedly didn’t mince words about perhaps making the media great again to his way of thinking, the Post claimed about this afternoon’s meeting with high-profile media figures including about 40 news anchors and managers.
“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ the source said. ‘The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,’ the source added. A second source confirmed the fireworks…’Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars.”
Conway specifically denied the Post account about Trump scolding the mainstream media. “No that’s not true at all. I sat right to his left. He did not explode in anger,” The Hill reported.
Trump leveled this same kind of criticism at TV and print outlets during the course of the campaign season. Separately, as everyone knows by now, the poll-focused media was fundamentally off target in their forecasts about who would ultimately win the election.
That being said, while there is traditionally a “honeymoon” for a new president, this time around several influential media outlets have presented negative coverage of the transition and some of the announced Trump administration nominations.
Consumers can draw their own conclusions about media bias, but last month, a Qunnipiac University poll in mid October revealed that 55 percent of likely voters in a landline and cellphone survey believed that the media was biased against Donald Trump, Politico reported at the time.
Parenthetically, since November 8, pollsters have not enjoyed the best of reputations for accuracy, however.
Shortly before the presidential election, a Suffolk University poll indicated that nearly 80 percent of respondents thought that the media wanted Democrat Hillary Clinton to be win the White House. “The Suffolk University/USA Today poll comes on the heels of an Associated Press/GkF poll last week showing that 56 percent of likely voters, including 87 percent of his supporters, believe the media is biased against Trump,” The Hill explained.
A Media Research Center/YouGov online poll of about 2,000 voters released after the election indicated that “7 in 10 (69%) voters do not believe the news media are honest and truthful” and “8 in 10 (78%) of voters believe the news coverage of the presidential campaign was biased, with nearly a 3-to-1 majority believing the media were for Clinton (59%) vs. for Trump (21%).”
Reacting to the Trump tough love with the media, the Zero Hedge website noted that “Amusingly, since the meeting was off the record, meaning the participants agreed not to talk about the substance of the conversations, it means they will most likely be unable to confirm or deny the Post‘s report. It also means that if indeed Trump was as confrontational as reported, that the conventional war between the various U.S. media organizations and Trump is about to go nuclear.”
A report from the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity released last month indicated that a staggering 96 percent of all media political donations went to the Hillary Clinton campaign, totaling almost $400,000. Since the names of those contributing $200 or less need not be reported under federal law, the amount of cash flowing into the Clinton coffers could be even higher.
The WikiLeaks email hack also exposed the reporters who coordinated with the Hillary Clinton campaign, Legal Insurrection recalled.
In a column published on Saturday, New York Times public editor Liz Spayd seemed to suggest that readers who she spoke with over the telephone were broadly dissatisfied with how the anti-Trump, pro-Clinton paper covered the election and that she received five times the typical level of complaints about the election coverage.
“What struck me is how many liberal voters I spoke with felt so, too. They were Clinton backers, but, they want a news source that fairly covers people across the spectrum… I found myself wishing someone from the newsroom was on the line with me, especially to hear how many of the more liberal voters wanted more balanced coverage. Not an echo chamber of liberal intellectualism, but an honest reflection of reality….”
In an Op-Ed about the Washington press corps, CBS News correspondent Will Rahn claimed that “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on…”
Do you think that Donald Trump’s aggressive tone at this afternoon’s off-the-record media meeting, if true, is appropriate or inappropriate given the coverage of his campaign?
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]