CBS's John Dickerson: The Press Did All The Good Work Of Ruining Its Reputation On Its Own

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Hugh Hewitt speaks to Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson about media credibility in an interview Thursday morning, the day after President Trump's press conference. Dickerson acknowledged that the media did itself in and it had nothing to do with Donald Trump.

"That one comment, they don’t trust you anymore, is a summation of where we are in America, because I really do think Manhattan-Beltway elites have lost the country. They’ve lost it. There’s just no confidence in, I’m not going to say us, because I am neither in nor of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite. I live in California still. But what do you think of that? Is it true?" Hewitt asked the FTN host.

"Well, yes," Dickerson responded. "I mean, yes, it’s true, and it’s not because of anything obviously Donald Trump did. The press did all that good work ruining its reputation on its own, and we can have a long conversation about what created that. Part of it, though, is what you mentioned about the local weather report, which is to say a lot of hysterical coverage about every little last thing that doesn’t warrant it. Having said that, it doesn’t mean, and in fact, it most explicitly does not mean that the press just throws out the standards."

From Thursday's broadcast of Hugh Hewitt's nationally-syndicated radio program:

HUGH HEWITT, HOST: Sending a message, and I keep trying to focus on the signal, not the noise of the press conference – the Gorsuch nomination, the Mattis comments in NATO. I actually think, and I wrote this in the Washington Post today, the media handwringing is getting to me, John. I think it’s just too much alarmism.

JOHN DICKERSON: (laughing) I’m thinking that was a short trip for you, Hugh.

HEWITT: (laughing)

DICKERSON: I agree with you to a point. You’re absolutely right. Focus on the big things. And then when I talk to Republicans on the Hill, that’s what they do, right? They love a good rallying moment, but then I would include the Netanyahu press conference.

HEWITT: Yes, yes.

DICKERSON: But, but, so that’s all, I think that’s exactly right, and I think you know, a White House that spends every day talking about jobs and Boeing and Carrier and any of those other plants is doing just exactly what the President should do. I think that the problem is the Flynn matter, and you know, when you have a press conference like yesterday, you would have like to have heard somebody and somewhere in the Flynn saga say you know, he had to resign because we don’t lie to the American people, and just make it, and that’s never been said. It’s never been said in this whole thing about you know, this is about giving misinformation to the American people about a not unimportant thing. And the culture of truth telling that should be a part of a White House is not, you don’t get that. You know, the President was loose about the Electoral College thing. He said that for months. Nobody stepped in to say Mr. President, that’s not right. Or they did, and it’s just no big deal. So that’s, and why does that matter? You know why it matters, because little shadings end up to be a big shading at the end. So I don’t think…

HUGH HEWITT: But my frustration, John, is that for eight years, I wanted the press to press President Obama on things like the jayvees, the red line, leading from behind, Aleppo, and they didn’t. And in the first month, they’re pressing Trump, and they’re upset that he’s not saying, you just said, I wish he would say this. He doesn’t say things that Manhattan-Beltway media elites want him to say. Instead, he says this. Let me play for you, I think, the key line in the 77 minute press conference yesterday, is this one, cut number four:

TRUMP: Look, I want to see an honest press. When I started off today by saying that it’s so important to the public to get an honest press, the public doesn’t believe you people anymore.

HEWITT: John Dickerson, that’s the key. The public doesn’t believe you people anymore.

DICKERSON: Well, here’s the thing. So I don’t, it’s not my wish. I don’t have any wishes. My point is if you’re going to make a case on honesty grounds and truthfulness grounds, if that’s the turf on which you’re going to hold your press conference and open your press conference, so we’re talking about veracity here, and the importance and necessity of that, then when it comes to veracity in your own backyard, to elide it completely seems inconsistent with the argument that you’re making in the 77 minute press conference.

HEWITT: Well, he did. He made some incredible misstatements yesterday about, for example, the largest victory. And I just played Jake Tapper running through them, and it upsets people like you and me who are used to being held accountable for every word we say on the air, on this show, on your show. We’re always, you know, if we get something wrong, we have to correct it. He never corrects anything that he says, and he says lots of wrong things. But that one comment, they don’t trust you anymore, is a summation of where we are in America, because I really do think Manhattan-Beltway elites have lost the country. They’ve lost it. There’s just no confidence in, I’m not going to say us, because I am neither in nor of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite. I live in California still. But what do you think of that? Is it true?

DICKERSON: Well, yes. I mean, yes, it’s true, and it’s not because of anything obviously Donald Trump did. The press did all that good work ruining its reputation on its own, and we can have a long conversation about what created that. Part of it, though, is what you mentioned about the local weather report, which is to say a lot of hysterical coverage about every little last thing that doesn’t warrant it. Having said that, it doesn’t mean, and in fact, it most explicitly does not mean that the press just throws out the standards.

HEWITT: Agreed.

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