Donald Trump vs the American media: Friction between these two is here to stay

It is no secret that ties between US president Donald Trump and the American media are tense.

At a press briefing on Saturday, for instance, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging — that bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult. There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways. We're going to hold the press accountable, as well. The American people deserve better."

Spicer also stressed on the claim that the media's reports on the turnout during Trump's inauguration were incorrect.

The media, on the other hand, refuses to budge, and this could lead to even more friction between the media and the US government.

 Donald Trump vs the American media: Friction between these two is here to stay

File image of Donald Trump. AP

There were various American news groups which reported on the first few days of Trump's presidency in a way which is bound to annoy the government.

The American media has been reporting extensively on the controversial claims made by Trump. For instance, an article titled 'Trump repeats lie about popular vote in meeting with lawmakers' in The New York Times stressed on how Trump "falsely" claimed that it was because of millions of unauthorised immigrants that he did not get the popular vote majority.

The article also said that several fact-checkers had concluded that this claim was false. "The new president’s willingness to bring it up at a White House reception in the State Dining Room is an indication that he continues to dwell on the implications of his popular vote loss even after assuming power," said the article.

Another article in The New York Times pointed out that Trump's Cabinet was on the way to have a smaller percentage of women and non-whites than the first cabinets of Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton. "If (Trump’s) nominees are confirmed, women and non-whites will hold five of 22 Cabinet or Cabinet-level positions," said the article, adding that those five members will also be in some of the lowest-ranking positions in the Cabinet.

The Atlantic also seems to be tired of the false claims of the new US government. In an article titled 'The White House can't easily repair its relationship with the media', The Atlantic pointed out that Spicer had incorrectly said that Trump's ceremony had 'the largest audience' there has ever been for an inauguration. It said that fact-checking website PolitiFact had said that this claim was "flat-out wrong".

Apart from the fact that side-by-side photographs of the National Mall at Trump's inauguration and Obama's inauguration in 2009 indicated that last week's event drew smaller crowds, Obama's inauguration had commanded a US television audience of 37.8 million viewers, more than 30.6 million viewers for Trump's inauguration, according to the article.

In another article in The Atlantic, Andrew Exum — former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy — wrote that Trump had cheapened a sacred space by "going before the world’s most powerful intelligence service and declaring war on the media".

"The broader power struggles within the Trump operation have touched everything from the new administration’s communications shop to the expansive role of the president’s son-in-law to the formation of Trump’s political organisation. At the centre, as always, is Trump himself, whose ascent to the White House seems to have only heightened his acute sensitivity to criticism," said another article in The Washington Post.

Yet another CNN article titled 'Dear team Trump,'alternative facts' are lies' went as far as to say that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway coined a new term on Sunday morning when she said that Spicer's claims about the turnout for Trump's inauguration were "alternative facts".

Perhaps what the Donald Trump government urgently needs to learn was best described in this line in an article in The Washington Post: "If Trump believes journalists can be so easily cowed, he’s in for a long four years."

Updated Date: Jan 24, 2017 14:39:56 IST