Trading places: D.C. reporters to Lebanon
The mayor called shortly after that week’s newspaper hit the streets. He was upset, as public officials tend to be when they’re unhappy with a story you’ve written. I argued back that the story was accurate and fair.
“Listen, Sosniecki,” the mayor shot back. “The only reason I’m calling is because if I came down there, I’d knock your block off.”
I’ve thought about the long-ago call from that mayor several times the past month as the feud between President Trump and what he calls “the dishonest media” and “the enemy of the American people” shows no sign of letting up.
Because Trump doesn’t fit the mold of a typical slow-to-make-waves new president, he can’t seem to catch a break from the national media, who paint the worst-case scenario for every action Trump takes, even though few of them are a surprise to anyone who followed his campaign.
Here in Laclede County, which Trump carried with 79.81 percent of the vote, I hear little dissatisfaction with the new president’s actions, at least from those who voted for him.
But the national media, with the exception of talk-show host Jim Bohannon, a Lebanon native, know nothing about life in Laclede County and why four of five registered voters supported Trump. The reporters sit in Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefings every afternoon, wearing their look-good-on-TV tailored suits, and ask questions about minutiae that mean little to most Americans. Or they appear on the Sunday talk shows and the weeknight cable shows, shake their heads in disbelief, roll their eyes and fearfully tell us that the sky is falling since Trump moved into the White House.
To be fair, the governmentally inexperienced Tweeter-in–chief and his staff have made mistakes and misstatements, as I predicted in a column last month. It’s fair for the national media to hold them accountable for those failings.
But many national reporters and pundits have gone beyond fair criticism, allowing their personal prejudices to overwhelm their writing and speaking to the degree that they cross the lines of good taste and good journalism. They’re not really the “enemy of the American people,” as the president accuses, but they take the bait Trump playfully casts in front of them and, like a trout at Bennett Springs after a hungry winter, they immediately swim and squirm into even deeper waters of snarkiness.
For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.