The mainstream media just got another make-believe martyr.
In an unusual move on Wednesday, White House communications chief Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders took CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins aside to inform her she would not be invited to an afternoon event in the Rose Garden because of her behavior, and “inappropriate” questions, during an earlier Trump appearance in the Oval Office.
And naturally, the media is outraged.
The Washington Post called the situation “unusual and possibly unprecedented … another low point in the Trump White House’s highly strained relationship with the media.”
The White House Correspondents Association (the same group that thought hiring anti-Trump comedian Michelle Wolf for its annual dinner would be a good idea) called it “inappropriate, wrong-headed and weak,” according to The Hill.
Even Fox News issued a statement supporting its competitor.
“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press,” network President Jack Wallace said in the statement.
Well, sure. Most Americans support a “free and unfettered press.” The problem is that in the Trump administration, the media is mistaking “freedom of the press” for “freedom to posture as reporters while really functioning as a political opposition party and pretending no one knows the difference.”
Take, for instance, the questions Collins was shouting at the end of Trump’s Oval Office event with European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Trump was meeting with Juncker to discuss trade and tariffs between the U.S. and Europe – a meeting that led up to the major announcement Collins was banned from later in the day that marked what could be a sea change in a huge American trading relationship.
Did Collins’ questions have anything remotely to do with the issue at hand – one that’s of huge importance to millions of Americans, particularly farmers in the heartland?
Of course not. As CNN’s own account of the incident shows, she asked a series of utterly irrelevant – and unanswerable questions – about Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen and the tapes he recorded of private conversations involving Trump.
What exactly, was Collins – who was the network pool reporter for the occasion — hoping to get from these answers? Nothing useful in the sense of advancing the Cohen story, or presenting the American people with an insight into the president’s thinking or the facts behind it. (Perish the thought she might actually ask about trade and tariffis.)
What she wanted was a video clip the networks could use for the latest round of stories aimed at attacking Trump and his administration – as the non-Fox mainstream media has done since before he even took the oath of office.
What she got instead was brushed out of the Oval Office along with the rest of the media that was present.
And then she got herself banned from a Rose Garden event.
And the media got another martyr to claim the White House is waging some kind of war on the First Amendment – joining other worthies like her own network’s Jim Acosta, who has run into trouble with the Trump White House for similar childish behavior.
But the Washington media sold out its First Amendment credentials during its eight years of disgraceful, Pravda-on-the-Potomac coverage of the Obama White House. Functioning as an attack dog for the Democrat Party during the Trump administration won’t absolve it of that sin.
On Wednesday, the media didn’t get absolution. But it did get another make-believe martyr.
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