Donald Trump used his Facebook page to revoke the press credentials of the Washington Post, "based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign." Trump was referring to a headline the Washington Post ran following an interview on Fox News Monday morning, where he said, "We’re led by a man that either is, is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind. And the something else in mind y’know people can’t believe it."
The headline that followed in the Washington Post read: "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting," which is the same conclusion other news outlets drew from his statement. In response, the paper's executive editor, former Boston Globe editor, Marty Baron released a statement saying, in part:
"Donald Trump's decision to revoke The Washington Post's press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press…. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along -- honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly."
Of course, the Post is just the latest outlet to be banned by Trump over the course of this campaign. Among others: BuzzFeed, Politico, The Daily Beast, Univision, and The Huffington Post. What does Trump's pulling of these credentials mean for the future of journalism? Dean of Boston University's College Of Communication,Tom Fiedler (@BUCOMDEAN), joined Adam on Tuesday night to discuss.
The Washington Post had a headline, which holds a great impact. Trump made a statement that leaves people in a position where they have to draw their own conclusions. “Attacking the Washington Post, I think is probably, in his [Trump] view, a positive in terms of pulling the Republican base together,” Fielder said. Fielder added that when press credentials are revoked it does not mean that the media outlet will stop reporting.
Fiedler said that there are two levels of impact at play here. The first is the symbolic impact of what Trump has done (revoking the Washington Post’s credentials), which Baron attacked above. And the second is the realistic impact of losing their credentials, which Fiedler says is "not very much." He added, “If you’re not credentialed as a reporter, that means basically that you’re not on the bus, not on the plane. If you’re traveling with them, they don’t reserve your room, they don’t handle your luggage, they don’t give you the baggage call and so forth.” As a reporter, they have the right of any citizen, or not citizen to attend a public rally. There is nothing that can stop the press from digging into Donald Trump’s past, present, and qualifications to be president.
Adam asked if this situation will damage the credibility of the Washington Post. In recent weeks, the Washington Post was a forerunner in pressing Donald Trump about the distribution of funds raised in support of veterans.Fiedler responded, “I think clearly this is a big part of what Donald Trump is doing, and that is a tactic that has been used by politicians who find themselves in the eye of the press often, is that you discredit the attacker often.” He also added that Trump will likely create a nickname for the Washington Post similar to ‘Crooked Hillary.’ Despite the media being kicked around, and doing poorly in polls, most people will find the Washington Post to hold more credibility than Trump.
Adam proposed the idea of a "sit out," where other publications would sit out covering the Trump campaign. Fiedler liked the idea, but said that it would never happen. He suggested that the media should show it is not of one mind. "Media is a plural," said Fiedler.