I strongly disagreed with the White House's decision this past week to remove a CNN reporter from the press pool covering the president.
While the question by CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins during the president's Oval Office sit down with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, may have been rude, it did not justify creating a precedent.
In my mind, the president is justified to be angry with the press. The billions of earned media in negative attacks on candidate Trump never ended upon his assumption of the presidency.
Despite this media war on him, Donald Trump has probably been one of the most open and engaging of any modern president.
Vice President Mike Pence pointed out today on Fox News that the White House had given "extraordinary access to the media."
"We'll make sure that every network, every major news organization, continues to have access because we stand for the freedom of the press in this White House," he added.
Reassuring for sure. But the cure for press attacks is not to curtail, limit or target the press.
It is to ensure the president's message is delivered to the American people.
The best advocate of this approach was President Thomas Jefferson who was victimized by the press during his time in his office.
Jefferson complained angrily about press attacks and made it a focus of his Second Inaugural Address.
"During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare," America's third president said.
Rather than take public actions to sanction the press, Jefferson argued that ". . . the public judgment will correct false reasonings and opinions, on a full hearing of all parties; and no other definite line can be drawn between the inestimable liberty of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness. If there be still improprieties which this rule would not restrain, its supplement must be sought in the censorship of public opinion."
As Jefferson predicted, President Trump has benefited by this overly aggressive media.
Informed citizens see through it and are making a "public judgement."
Trump's approval ratings are up and rising in the wake of these incessant media attacks. His strong record speaks for itself.
But it is never easy to turn the other cheek, especially when questioned about personal matters relating to close friends facing prosecution.
The president is much more empathetic than is acknowledged. His emotions and reactions can be raw.
The banning of the CNN reporter, however temporary, is not a wise move. In fact, it is potentially a dangerous step.
Early in the Obama administration, President Obama sought to permanently ban Fox News from the White House press room. The press corps, including CNN, banded together to oppose this authoritarian urge. [Obama, I believe was a patriot, and over time became less hostile to Fox and the press in general. He ended up being an exemplary role model as president, though I strongly disagreed with many of his policies.]
The CNN ban may seem small to some. Still, the press was right to sharply criticize the move by the Trump White House.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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