Episode
January 9, 2017

The press and the presidency

US journalists discuss whether or not President Obama laid the groundwork for President-elect Trump to target reporters.
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US President-elect Donald Trump has a tumultuous relationship with the press. During his campaign, he routinely expressed disgust with how reporters were covering the election, often taking to Twitter to lambast the media. His campaign also denied press credentials to some members of the media. Post-election, Trump bucked tradition when he refused to allow journalists to travel with him to Washington for his first meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. In another unusual move, he gathered media executives in an off-the-record meeting where he reportedly scolded the group.

Media critics say while Trump and Obama have different styles in how they handle the press, both have antagonistic approaches.

In 2009, President Obama opposed a federal media shield bill on the basis it did not include a national security exception. The bill would have provided protection for journalists subpoenaed to testify against their sources in court. Shortly after, the Justice Department began prosecuting whistleblowers using the Espionage Act to support their cases. The Obama administration has used the 1917 Espionage Act more than all previous administrations, invoking it seven times in eight years. In 2013, Obama’s Justice Department was accused of snooping on journalists after it was revealed investigators seized the phone records of reporters and editors of The Associated Press.

The Stream hosts a journalist roundtable to discuss the press and the presidency in the United States and what that relationship might look like in a Trump administration.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Benny Johnson @bennyjohnson
Chief Content Officer, The Independent Journal Review
ijr.com

Vann Newkirk @fivefifths
Staff Writer, The Atlantic
theatlantic.com

Zach Carter @zachdcarter
Senior Political Economy Reporter, The Huffington Post
huffingtonpost.com/author/zach-carter

Kelly McBride @kellymcb
Vice President, The Poynter Institute
poynter.org

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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