An Open Letter to the Colluding Press

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An Open Letter to the Colluding Press
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
An Open Letter to the Colluding Press
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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An open letter to The Boston Globe and media outlets that authored coordinated editorials about President Trump:

President John Adams once wrote, “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom.” We at America First couldn’t agree more. A free press is a bedrock of a democratic society. It is at the heart of our constitutional rights. But with liberty comes responsibility—the responsibility to report information accurately and fairly. Unfortunately, too many times, the media have failed to live up to their responsibility.

Let’s cite a few egregious examples that fall under three different categories:  

Category 1: Straight-Up Inaccurate Reporting  

Let’s remember how it all started. After an initial pool spray that took place within hours of President Trump’s inauguration, a Time magazine White House correspondent incorrectly reported that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. This false detail even made it into a White House pool report about Trump’s first actions in the Oval Office as president. Was this an honest mistake, or a blatant attempt to make the president appear racially insensitive? We try to give all people, including the press, the benefit of the doubt—but this was far too suspicious, a “gotcha” moment gone wrong.

Then there was the time ABC News had to suspend reporter Brian Ross for four weeks after a seriously erroneous Trump report. Ross was eventually fired, and rightfully so.

More recently, a CNN senior White House correspondent falsely claimed that President Trump hadn’t answered questions on the news in “at least a week.” Mind you, this claim was made the day after the president had answered reporters’ questions at a joint press conference—a press conference that said reporter attended.

And who can forget the infamous Time magazine cover, and its editor even doubling down on this massively misleading and embarrassing misstep, instead of simply apologizing?

Category 2: Biased Reporting

Shortly before the election, CNN declared a Trump victory would be America's Brexit and cause U.S. stocks and global markets to tank. Politico agreed. Well, we all know just how wrong they turned out to be.

Then there was the huge screw-up by the New York Times, which falsely insinuated the Trump administration was covering up a report on climate change.

Speaking of the New York Times, both that publication and the Associated Press took the president’s comments on MS-13 completely out of context in May.

And, of course, there was Chris Cuomo’s recent defense of Antifa violence.

Category 3: Sins of Omission

What the media choose to not report on is just as damning as the examples above. Here are a couple stories that highlight such sins:

Giving a Trump victory its due: Media ignores his ISIS success, mocks him

Media ignores success of Trump economy: Varney

We could go on, but the evidence is clear. The litany of transgressions began on Day 1 (literally) of Donald Trump’s presidency and hasn’t slowed much since. And let’s face it: Some of the media undermine their own credibility when they lose any semblance of objectivity.

All editors have the right to opine, as they did in their editorials yesterday (that’s what you do in an editorial, after all), but they still ultimately fail to understand the role of a journalist. Yes, a journalist should be tenacious in pursuit of the truth, but the pursuit of truth does not entail omitting certain facts, overlooking a president’s key achievements, promoting a political agenda, or slipping into the role of an activist.

Thankfully, the American people are a lot smarter than the media think they are. Poll after poll show that wide swaths of the public believe that the media are biased and inaccurate and report news they know to be false or purposely misleading.

And the overwhelmingly negative coverage of our president and his policies isn’t just a matter of opinion; it’s backed up by a number of studies by the Media Research Center, Pew Research Center, and Harvard. The Harvard researchers found that, in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, CNN's Trump coverage was 93 percent negative, and 7 percent positive. The numbers were the same for NBC. 

We do not believe anyone in the Trump administration wants to undermine a free press. The president himself tweeted Thursday that he wants a free press: “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people. HONESTY WINS!”

What the president is against is the press’s coordinated efforts to push an agenda that vehemently works against him at every turn. In fact, the Globe’s coordinated editorial experiment proves this very point. The signature of a free press is diversity of thought and opinion. A parade of more than 300 newspapers marching in lockstep is, quite ironically, the very opposite.

Overlooked in these editorials is the indisputable list of accomplishments of President Trump.

So, in an effort to remind the press (yet again), we here provide a recap, by no means comprehensive:

  • Almost 4 million new jobs have been created since President Trump’s election.
  • African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American unemployment rates have all recently reached the lowest levels in history.
  • Women’s unemployment rate has reached the lowest level in 65 years. 
  • Veterans’ unemployment rate recently reached its lowest level in nearly 20 years.
  • The unemployment rate for Americans without high school diplomas is at the lowest level ever recorded, and the Trump administration’s new workforce initiative will deliver job-training to more than 4 million Americans.
  • Manufacturing jobs are being created at the fastest pace in over three decades. 
  • Nearly half-a-million manufacturing jobs have been created since the president took office. In the month of July alone, nearly 40,000 new manufacturing jobs were added.
  • Almost 3.9 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps since President Trump’s election.
  • The president crafted the largest tax cut in a generation, which led to savings for more than 80 percent of households and pay raises and bonuses for 4 million American workers.
  • President Trump protected American taxpayers by asking Congress to rescind $15.4 billion in unused appropriations.
  • The president has hired/nominated an impressive number of women to senior positions in his administration, including the first female director of the CIA, Gina Haspel. 
  • He’s appointed two Supreme Court justices, and the Senate has now confirmed 26 appellate court judges of his choosing, as well as Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
  • He successfully negotiated the return of four American hostages in one month’s time.
  • President Trump’s Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Action has exceeded the 2:1 mandate, eliminating 22 job-killing regulations for every one new regulatory action.
  • President Trump signed the “Right to Try” Act to give terminally ill patients a chance to try lifesaving treatments.
  • The Department of Homeland Security arrested 796 MS-13 gang members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the previous year.
  • The president signed the VA Mission Act, which allows veterans who don’t live near a VA facility or can’t get an appointment in a timely manner to seek medical care from private health-care providers.
  • Signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides an $82 billion funding increase for the Department of Defense over the current period, including a $617 billion Pentagon budget, $22 billion for the nuclear weapons program and $69 billion for U.S. military efforts abroad, as well as new tanks, ships, and planes. The package includes a salary boost for service members, about a 2.6 percent raise—the biggest military pay raise in nearly a decade.

Numbers don’t lie, so in the name of a free and fair press, we implore all journalists to start sharing them—instead of their own personal biases. 

Sincerely,

Sean Spicer
Senior Adviser and Spokesman
America First Action
Author of “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President”

Tommy Hicks Jr.
Chairman
America First Action



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