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State of the Union Luncheon

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Michael_ Gee, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    If a moderator decides this should be in the Politics thread I won't object, but I honestly believe it's more about journalism. White House did not invite CNN to the traditional off the record lunch for network anchors given the day of the SOTU address. Every other network knew of this, and they all showed up anyway. When asked, all networks refused comment. Likewise, when Pompeo barred NPR from his trip to Central Asia, nobody else said boo. To me, this is simple chickenshit behavior. I know network anchors are really just unregistered lobbyists for their media conglomerate owners, but to not even have the guts to say access to the President is too important for us to care about how the President behaves towards the free press is disgraceful.
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Is there anything "traditional" about covering the White House anymore? If it's off the record, I'm not going -- even for free food.
  3. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Tough call. It's an ethically dubious event even if CNN is there. It's a prestige event. These are TV anchors, not reporters. They don't get anything out of it other than the chance to feel like part of the in crowd. The White House gets to butter them up and steer their messaging. It's hard to come down on the networks for sacrificing principles when it really isn't a principled event.

    That said, let's pretend there is some journalistic merit to this thing. You think this White House gives a shit if none of the lamestream media show up? As far as they are concerned, the fewer real journalists, the better. It gives them a chance to throw more chum to their base about how the liberal press is against them. Boycotting would play right into their hands. I don't blame legitimate news orgs if they feel some responsibility to help prevent a world in which the only outlets who have access to Trump are Fox, OAN, etc. Don't blame em if they feel like passing up this spot at the table would give Trump even leeway to shut out all but the friendliest voices.

    Maybe it'd be better for the republic if the charade died, and it was obvious to everybody that Trump has built himself a de facto state tv apparatus. Or maybe it wouldn't, because the outlets on the outside would be left to react to whatever State TV reported from behind closed doors.

    Not an easy time for anybody who cares about preserving the notion of an objective truth.
    OscarMadison and SFIND like this.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Once upon a time, the idea was this would give the attendees and their organizations some concept of the President's own thinking (of course buttering them up was always the real reason) to flesh out the reporting on what is always a pretty dull speech. This is wholly unnecessary with Trump, who tells the entire world what he's thinking on Twitter each and every day.
    cake in the rain likes this.
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    This is all an example of how, for a wide variety of reasons (network anchors are careerists, not journalists, are pre-selected for their ability to soothe old people, and above all the sheer inertia of an easy and profitable means of presenting information), America's journalism industry is incapable of accepting the political reality of today, let alone communicate it to others.
    heyabbott, SFIND and maumann like this.
  7. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    I was thinking about the Pompeo trip. He would be thrilled if all the other reporters boycotted. How does that factor in if you’re one of the other reporters? If you’re boycott won’t change anything, does that change the math? Not sure what I think.
  8. Where this country is right now is similar to where Germany was in the early 1930s. The free press is all that keeps us from falling further into the abyss.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  9. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    If one is banned and no one boycotts it sucks, but the WH Administration gets its bit of flesh.

    If one is banned and everyone boycotts, the WH is ecstatic and claims victory, saying if they don't need us we don't need them for anything. That's exactly what this WH wants.
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