No US president has ever said being president was easy and most would say it isn’t fun. They have to answer some very tough questions put forth by the press and the American public. Reagan had the Iran/Contra scandal, George Bush Sr. had the Gulf War, Clinton had Lewinsky, Bush Jr. had Iraq, Obama had the Affordable Care Act. They all answered questions about it. They didn’t love every reporter that sat in the gallery of a press conference. And they certainly didn’t love every question.
However, not once do I ever remember hearing a President respond by telling the reporter it was a stupid question or by calling the reporter stupid. Most have accepted that’s the way it goes in a country with free press and free of speech. Yet, President Trump continues to act like the White House is the stage of the Apprentice where he can say and do anything he wants and no one is going to tell him any different.
When I first heard President Trump had banned Jim Accosta from White House press conferences, I shook my head, the tantrum had finally happened. Tomorrow or the next day, Accosta would be back asking the president questions he didn’t want to answer.
Then the days dragged on and the ban become a more serious and real problem. This is the action of a despot, a dictator that doesn’t want the people to know what he’s up to. Especially, considering he banned CNN while talking about how much he loved Fox News.
I’m seeing parallels between this behavior and the behavior of leaders like Vladimir Putin, who despite being elected democratically, still only talks to state sponsored media. State sponsored media is the very antithesis of our founding principles of free speech and free press. Something that requires free access by members of the press that supports both conservative and liberal news oriented organizations.
And while I thought the replacement of Accosta with a different White House reporter was the answer, so far, President Trump has done nothing but belittle these reporters. Calling them stupid, calling their questions stupid and racist. And he gets away with it. Why should he stop until only Fox News is left in a position to report on events in the White House? When Fox News becomes President Trump’s state sponsored media outlet and everyone else is wrong, fake, false, and subversive?
Love or hate him, it’s hard to deny that President Trump is setting it up to enforce a state sponsored media similar to what they have in Russia. Of course, if you point this out to him, he’ll point out how stupid you are for bringing it up.
No one has demanded he like every reporter or every question that gets asked of him, that’s unrealistic. But is it really so hard to act like a person and deal with those he doesn’t like as if he were attempting to be an adult? If you told everyone they were stupid or that was a stupid question every time you got asked something you didn’t want to answer, how long would you keep your job?