Donald Trump’s recent combative treatment of the media and refusal to take questions from journalists he associates with ‘fake news’ outlets at his press conference suggest the bell has rung on the first round of what is likely to be a lengthy fight between the new President and global news media.
Trump has himself just been coined the ‘godfather of fake news’ by film-maker Michael Moore – following Adam Curtis’ recent film ‘HyperNormalisation’, which included a package on Trump’s rise amid the ‘multiple versions of reality’ which bounce across social media based on ‘complete untruths’.
‘The Donald’ has only fielded a single press conference since the election – perhaps to get his own back on journalists who criticised and offended him – and there are even reports that he intends to move the long established ‘press corps’ out of the White House.
This must be of huge frustration to the news media which, arguably, has a ‘deficit’ to make up for – on the grounds that it didn’t challenge Trump sufficiently during his election campaign, assuming he was a ‘joke contender’ who’d never win – and, in so doing, fueled the oxygen of publicity for the ‘great entertainer’.
Moore is right in ‘crediting’ Trump’s press conference performance as ‘masterful’ – because he’s clearly landing his punches; directly challenging the credibility and independence of trusted global media brands and trashing their reputations for objectivity and impartiality in the process.
As Trump’s presidency gets underway it will be interesting to see how frequently he holds press conferences, whether indeed he ousts the press corps and how he handles established and new media brands alike.
Likewise, in the opposite corner, it will be fascinating to watch how the global news media – in its highly competitive, fragmented and digital state – takes on the great bruiser who is clearly spoiling for a fight.
Brace yourself for some dirty moves because it is unlikely to be Marquess of Queensberry Rules!