Donald Trump’s strained relationship with the media has been nothing but problematic from the start. The President-elect has openly attacked the press countless times, threatened to sue, and even expressed the desire to restrict the media’s freedom to report facts that paint him in a negative light.
This has raised several concerns about what Trump’s presidency is actually going to look like when it comes to reporting and keeping Americans informed. Recently, three former White House press secretaries came forward with warnings about what Trump’s disdain for the media might turn into during a panel conversation on NBC’s Meet The Press.
In speaking to host Chuck Todd, Joe Lockhart – who was White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton – likened Trump’s lies and misinformation to the behavior seen during President Richard Nixon. Calling Trump out for his habit of literally just making things up, Lockhart said:
“It’s somewhat Orwellian, which, you know, you redefine the past, which means you can define the present and the future. And that’s going to be very difficult for both sides to come to grips with.”
President George W. Bush’s communications director, Nicolle Wallace, also remarked on the fact that, while Trump has a clear hatred for the press, his ego still needs it “like an addict craves their drugs.” She said:
“I think we’re staring at trees and missing the forest. We’ve just elected a man who bullies female reporters at his rally as an applause line. We have just elected a man who started a hot war with a female anchor instead of attending a debate she moderated. We are in a new place. And I don’t think it’s good. And I don’t think it has any parallels to the past.”
Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary for Bush, also stated that the hard feelings are on both sides, and called the tension between Trump and the media a “double-barreled hostility.” Fleischer said:
“He can use it to his advantage, because as the Gallup poll recently indicated, confidence in the press to report the news accurately and fairly has never been lower. And so the press has made itself vulnerable, because it lost the trust of their readers and their viewers — and Trump has widely taken advantage of it.”
Trump’s relations with the press are unprecedented, and Trump has worked hard throughout his presidential campaign to create distrust for the press because it enables him to continue telling lies and makes it harder for him to be held accountable. Trump knows exactly what he’s doing, and his presidency is going to be extremely damaging when it comes to how Americans are kept informed.
Featured image via Zach Gibson via Getty Images