Maggie Haberman, New York Times White House correspondent, CNN analyst, and "queen of political journalism," spoke about covering the White House at a symposium hosted by Ohio State University at Marion. She discussed the mechanics of the semi-daily WH press briefings and how information is disseminated by the White House to the press in general, including the president’s use of Twitter and his tendency to start fights "for fun." Recorded July 21st, 2018.
McGahn was leery of becoming Trump’s John Dean. So, after Cobb and Dowd encouraged cooperation with Mueller, McGahn - fearful he was being set up for blame on obstruction issues - talked and talked. @nytmike and me https://t.co/g0rA69t8ak— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 18, 2018
"It might surprise people to learn how much of this is something of a game to the president," said Haberman, who covered Trump as a local news personality for more than a decade with the New York Daily News and Post before joining the Times. "He has described his calls of 'fake news' privately as 'having fun' with reporters."
"He has repeatedly sought to lower the temperature with major news organizations, even when his Twitter feed says something different. He will be holding meetings in private with executives of major news outlets, he invites them to the Oval Office. He'll then undo that with a tweet or a rally appearance during which he points to the reporters covering him at the
back of the event crowd as... fake news."
"The first briefing that Sean Spicer, the first press secretary gave, where he yelled at reporters --literally-- about the size of the president's inauguration crowd made it immediately clear what the tone was going to be," she said. "The relationship between this White House and the press is more or less what you see when you watch one of these press briefings, whether it is Sean Spicer or Sarah Sanders, on television. They are combative, they are often futile-seeming, and they have transitioned from the traditionally adversarial relationship between media and government to open hostility."