Trump is a Threat to ‘How Journalists Gather Information on a Daily Basis’

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CNN’s Brian Stelter, one of those under constant attack from right-wing sources for being willing to take account of actual facts in his reporting, took to CNN’s New Day today to argue for transparency in the Trump transition.

As has been pointed out many times by many journalists, Trump has not held a press conference for a long time – today is Day 142 – and none since elected. Instead, he acts like he is on the election trail again.


Stelter explains that “Normally presidents-elect do that within a few days of the election.” Instead, what we get is cameras pointed “at the Trump Tower lobby,” which is “not enough to know what is actually happening upstairs.”

Watch courtesy of Media Matters:

CHRIS CUOMO: Let’s talk about this fundamental question of practice, Brian Stelter. Transparent. Is transparent when they show what they want you to see, or is transparency an actual higher obligation that has not yet been met?
BRIAN STELTER: Transparency is something bigger than what we’ve seen. Donald Trump has not spoken in a press conference setting for the first five weeks as president-elect. Normally presidents-elect do that within a few days of the election. That’s an easy example of how we’re not seeing transparency. President Obama was having a bunch of press conferences at this point as president-elect, and that was in [the] midst of the financial crisis, where a lot of reasons why he was speaking to the press regularly. But we’re not seeing the same kind of access to Donald Trump. It’s not enough just to point a camera at the Trump Tower lobby, which is a public space where anyone can be. That’s not enough to know what is actually happening upstairs at the transition.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: I want to sit with you, Brian, one more second before we get to Liz. There’s also bad signs that we’ve seen. We’ve seen some things that suggest that the access to the president will not be what we have seen for decades. For instance, they have now suggested that the daily press briefings might change, might go away. We have also heard that they might get rid of the Saturday radio addresses. Donald Trump has suggested changing the libel laws. As we know, they’ve dodged the protective press pool that travels with them a couple of times. If you put all these together, it seems like it will be one of the least transparent.
STELTER: Put all these together, and these are real threats to how the fourth estate operates, how journalists gather information on a daily basis.

Trump’s penchant for secrecy stands in stark contrast to the transparency promised and delivered by the Obama administration. We have returned instead to the secretive world of the Bush administration where new realities were invented daily, too fast for the media to keep up.

Trump is still promising at his rallies to never let people down before he returns to his golden tower and slips the knife in between their shoulder blades.


As Stelter says, a view of Trump Tower is not enough. It is also about all we are going to get, given Trump’s fear of having his words repeated verbatim back to him and his preference for ego-boosting propaganda to actual news.

Photo: Photo: By Bin im Garten (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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