As a journalist with international standing I live a Spinx-like existence. Agree to an interview and I will offer a reasonable level of confidentiality. Given to a mercurial level of curiosity I will then report out pertinent thoughts. Contacts and networks are horded like grandmother’s heirlooms.
It is also a distinct pleasure to be an invitee to the White House. Since the inauguration I have been present for many meetings, seated with my computer a mere arm’s length from the President. Who would have thought that a woman who started a journalism career at Dallas Morning News could attain such stature? I was there when the President shook hands with military members at the Pentagon. I trotted over to the US Central Command and listened to remarks offered to the ranking generals. After that, it was off to a meeting hosted at the White House with the National Sheriff’s Association. It was great to see the Rockwall County Sheriff. Beautiful Rockwall Lake is a short drive from my home.
Discreet cough. A small disclaimer is in order. The President would not spit on me, were I on fire. This is my level of importance to the scheme of things. All meetings attended have been accomplished within the virtual domain. And virtual capabilities — the marvelous experience of living in a digital age — is the only truthful claim being made today. Luckily, you can also have this experience!
But let’s talk about this a bit. What does all of this mean? Because while journalism must adhere to basic rules of asking *who *what *when *where *how and *why, there is another question which requires consideration. Who benefits? Who benefits from any chain of events, a level of misfortune, infamy or praise? When penning our thoughts... who benefits? If Allah created the pen and told it to write the destiny of all mankind does my own pen elevate a political agenda, destroy a good man, or create a vortex of discussion? Does my pen stand on the shoulders of victims and make them a greater target or does it make me a target? Who benefits when a Presidential Twitter feed presents as the concierge of Glasnost?
As virtual invitees into truncated versions of White House meetings we are given the raw material for news. It is offered to us shortly before or after it makes it into the spin cycle of mainstream media. We imagine ourselves the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Times. We are practically Thomas Friedman! These are heady days! At least that is the way it is affecting this journalist. But who benefits? Is it just me? Or is it the American people? If not the American people... whom?
Our President is running an effective program of hand torch populism. We are being admitted to the White House. Selective views of important national meetings are up for grabs. Light in hand, the President is giving us a peek of his administration and how it works. We are offered small-batch news. News with a target in mind. And the target is both the logic and sentimentality of the American people.
Social media platforms are working to give Donald J. Trump a competitive edge. This business model is a boomerang. The president wings the news right past the noses of dishonest media and then reclaims the product at home base. The giants of broadcast and print media have shown such vitriolic hatred for our political outsider president that it has become increasingly necessary to take the message directly to the electorate. I await the day. I await the moment when Mr. Trump pays his respect at a graveside and is accused of stealing the peace lilies just placed on sacred soil. Such is the level of foolishness proceeding from the mouths of fools.
The competition for ownership and distribution of information is a bit Robin Hood and populist in nature. The hero is robbing from the graphic rich, broadcast media rich and giving things directly to the poor — that is the poorly represented individual voter. There is a renewed sense of being a stakeholder in the Republic. If a sentence spoken by the President resonates in our heart it is because he captured our thought and put it on display. If he delivers a public counter punch against a detractor, the boxing gloves are also on our hands. We are the citizens of Nottingham and we have our folk hero.
Mainstream media have only themselves to blame for the Twitter antics of the concierge. The lop-sided reporting, the absolute unfairness and nasty tone can take a toll on the heartiest and strongest of souls. Perhaps what distresses most acutely is the total lack of respect for the office of the President. The authority is both positional and delegated. There is a reason why the seal of the office of the President of the United States displays an eagle. The powerful political flight and the soaring reach of the Commander-in-Chief are representative of the will of We the People. We chose this man. And we have the patience to allow this man to mature in his role.
But the media brats? They are functioning as scavenging birds of prey. They continue to nibble away on the dead meat of Leftist political defeat. Yet these vultures cannot touch the eagle. His office soars above them.
Leave the eagle alone and he will leave you alone. Insult him and he will be winging back your way. Manipulating “freedom of the press” as a scavenger hunt to serve up a daily helping of spoiled meat is having a boomerang effect against the press. Trump is taking his case directly to the people: Carefully crafted small-batch news that hits a bulls-eye.
Call it strengthening of the base; call it populism. Our Concierge of Glasnost is at work. The hand torch is firmly grasped. The mid-term elections will be the metric for success. Do more blue states become a chameleon red?
The writer is a freelance journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org