It has been 438 days since Trump's last solo press conference. But many in the media are more concerned about some jokes.
The media is obsessing over some jokes, even as a major news organization declares that Trump has effectively killed the presidential press conference.
Comedian Michelle Wolf’s routine from Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner dominated the news Monday morning. Officers and members of the association rushed to join others in condemnation of Wolf. Much of the criticism revolved around the false claim that she went after Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ physical appearance.
But Monday morning also featured a declaration by the Associated Press that White House press conferences are dead in the Trump era.
Hours after Wolf called out Sanders’ dishonesty, Sanders seemed to only prove Wolf’s point. She scolded a reporter for daring to ask Trump a question at one of those joint press conferences. Trump had only called on one American reporter, so Hunter Walker of Yahoo News shouted his question as Trump left the podium.
While complaints about a comedian dominated White House reporters’ Twitter feeds, it was also reported that the Department of Justice has removed an entire section from its manual that deals with “the need for free press.”
And just days ago, Reporters Without Borders released its study showing the U.S. slipped to 45th worldwide on press freedom. Sanders reacted to that news by bragging that she takes questions “unvetted.”
And earlier this year, Trump made the Committee to Protect Journalists’ list of top press oppressors. Trump’s supporters at Fox News deflected that news by bragging that Trump has not murdered any journalists. But Trump’s hostility toward the press has incited death threats against those reporters who do stand up to him.
The Trump administration has threatened and intimidated reporters who dared to call out its lies. Yet many of their colleagues are more focused on a comedian who simply told some jokes that contained uncomfortable truths.
Americans deserve a free press that holds Trump accountable, not one that defends or ignores his abuses.