Trump and The Media


TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON: HOW SHOULD JOURNALISTS RESPOND TO PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CLAIM THAT THE MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE? ALSO TONIGHT: A LOOK AT FOREIGN POLICY WITH A PRIZE- WINNING JOURNALIST AND SOCIOLOGIST. AND WE'LL VISIT AN INSPIRING HIGH SCHOOL IN SOUTH PHOENIX THAT HAS A 100 PERCENT GRADUATION RATE. THOSE STORIES NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON. GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON, I'M TED SIMONS. WHAT TO MAKE OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S PERSISTENT ATTACKS ON THE MEDIA AND HOW SHOULD JOURNALISTS RESPOND TO BEING DESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT AS, QUOTE, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE AND, QUOTE, THE MOST DISHONEST HUMAN BEINGS ON EARTH? JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE STATE OF THE MEDIA UNDER THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY IS LEN DOWNIE, FORMER EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE WASHINGTON POST AND A PROFESSOR AT ASU'S WALTER CRONKITE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM, AND ALSO WITH US IS JULIA WALLACE, THE CRONKITE SCHOOL'S FRANK RUSSEL CHAIR OF JOURNALISM. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. LEN, THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MEDIA RIGHT NOW, HOW DO YOU SEE IT?

LEN DOWNIE: WELL, IT IS PRETTY AMAZING FOR THE BEGINNING OF A PRESIDENCY. SOMETIMES A CERTAIN HOSTILITY TOWARD THE MEDIA EVOLVES OVER THE PERIOD OF TIME IN A PRESIDENCY AND THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED IN THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION WHERE WE HAD TO GET INTO WATERGATE ERA OF THAT ADMINISTRATION BEFORE NIXON WAS SAYING VERY MUCH THE SAME THINGS THAT TRUMP IS SAYING ABOUT THE MEDIA EXCEPT THE DIFFERENCE WAS NIXON WAS SAYING IT IN WHAT WAS THE PRIVACY OF THE OVAL OFFICE TO HIS AIDES BUT WE LATER HEARD ABOUT IT ON TAPE.

TED SIMONS: HOW BIG OF A CHALLENGE IS THIS FOR THE MEDIA?

JULIA WALLACE: I THINK IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE MEDIA. I THINK THAT WE BELIEVE WE PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN DEMOCRACY BUT I THINK PEOPLE FORGOTTEN THAT A LITTLE BIT AND THIS IS A CHANCE TO REMIND PEOPLE WHAT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS THOUGHT OF IN THE BEGINNING. THE PRESS IS CRITICAL FOR A DEMOCRACY SO YES, THERE IS TROUBLE, BUT THERE IS ALWAYS OPPORTUNITY.

TED SIMONS: POLITICO HAD A STORY TRUMP IS MAKING JOURNALISM GREAT AGAIN. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

JULIA WALLACE: I THINK WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO DO IT. YOU CAN SEE FROM THE REPORTING THAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW THAT WE HOLD GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE. WE HOLD THE POWERFUL ACCOUNTABLE. PEOPLE NEED AND WANT AND EXPECT THAT. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE OPPORTUNITY TO US.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE DEALING WITH SOMEONE WHO SAYS THE PRESS IS QUOTE THE ENEMY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THAT IS STALIN TALK. THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. THAT IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.

LEN DOWNIE: IT IS SERIOUS IF HE THEN USES THAT AS A WAY TO WHIP UP PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACTIONS TOWARDS THE PRESS. SUBPOENAING REPORTERS, CRIMINALIZING LEAKS OF INFORMATION OR TRYING TO SHUTDOWN MEDIA AS OPPOSED TO SIMPLY ELIMINATING THEM FROM A PARTICULAR BRIEFING.

TED SIMONS: AND JULIA AGAIN, A COUPLE QUOTES I WANT TO CONTINUE TO PASS ALONG AS WE MENTIONED WE HAVE A PANEL HERE WITH TRUMP SAYING, THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA (FAILING @NYTIMES, @CNN, @NBCNEWS AND MANY MORE) IS NOT MY ENEMY, IT IS THE ENEMY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. SICK! HE HAS AN AUDIENCE AND THERE IS AN AUDIENCE THAT BELIEVES THAT. THAT IS A CONCERN IS IT NOT?

JULIA WALLACE: IT IS REALLY PART OF DIVIDED AMERICA. SO "THE NEW YORK TIMES," "THE WASHINGTON POST", THEY ARE SEEING INCREASES IN CIRCULATION. NON-PROFIT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM UNITS ARE SEEING BIG DONATIONS COMING IN BECAUSE THERE IS SOME PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS DEMOCRACY AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE SUPPORT IT. YOU HAVE THAT GROUP. YOU DO HAVE ANOTHER GROUP THAT SAYS WE ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN. THEY HAVE NO INTEREST. AND I THINK OUR WORK AHEAD IS THOSE PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE TO KEEP THEM INTERESTED AND ENGAGED IN THE JOURNALISM.

LEN DOWNIE: AND BEYOND THAT TO COVER THAT, THIS IS THE MEDIA WHO IS NOT COMPLETELY WITHOUT FAULT. THE MEDIA FAILED TO COVER WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY WITH PEOPLE WHO WERE LOOSING JOBS WHOSE LIFESTYLES WERE BEING DEPRESSED, WHO FAILED TO UNDERSTAND MANY WILL VOTE FOR TRUMP. AN AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA THIS TIME VOTED FOR TRUMP AND HAD NO IDEA WHY. IT IS UP TO THE MEDIA TO HOLD THIS GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE TO CONTINUE THAT AGGRESSIVE REPORTING BUT ALSO TO GET OUT IN THE COUNTRY AND FIND OUT WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN AMERICA THAT MAKES THIS POSSIBLE.

TED SIMONS: SOME WERE SAYING THAT JOURNALISTS HAVE LOST THEIR BLUE COLLER ROUTES. DO YOU THINK THAT IS A VALID POINT?

LEN DOWNIE: THAT HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO. I'VE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR HALF A CENTURY.

TED SIMONS: SO IT'S A BUNCH OF ELITISTS RUNNING AROUND REPORTING ON ELITISTS.

LEN DOWNIE: I AM AFRAID THAT TOO MANY OF US ARE ELITISTS. WE ARE COLLEGE EDUCATED. WE TEND TO LIVE IN THE BIG CITES PARTICULARLY ON THE COSTS. WE TEND TO HAVE LIFESTYLES THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE PEOPLE IN MIDDLE AMERICA AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.

TED SIMONS: JULIA IT IS ONE THING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT BUT IT IS ANOTHER ONE WHEN - PRESIDENT TRUMP AGAIN WE HAVE ANOTHER TWEET FROM THE PRESIDENT HERE WHERE HE ATTACKS THE NEWS MEDIA AND BASICALLY SAYS THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA KNOWINGLY DOESN'T TELL THE TRUTH. A GREAT DANGER TO OUR COUNTRY. THE FAILING @NYTIMES HAS BECOME A JOKE. LIKEWISE @CNN. SAD!

JULIA WALLACE: I WOULD AGREE WITH THAT LEN SAID WE DO HAVE AN ISSUE IN THAT WE ARE NOT AS IN TOUCH WITH THE COUNTRY AS WE NEED TO BE AND THAT IS BECAUSE SO MANY JOURNALISTS ARE BASED IN THE BIG CITIES NOW. I ALSO THINK JOURNALISM HAS BECOME A LITTLE TOO MUCH PART OF THE ESTABLISHMENT AND HE IS ANTI ESTABLISHMENT SO JOURNALISM SORT OF FITS IN WITH THAT CATEGORY. I THINK A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS WAS THE CRAZY FIGHT OVER THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENCE DINNER. YOU KNOW, WHO CARES. WHY DOES THE PRESS AND THE PRESIDENT HAVE TO HAVE DINNER TOGETHER AND GET DRESSED UP ANYWAY? I THINK FOCUSING ON THE WORK IS WHERE WE HAVE TO PUT OUR EFFORT AND I THINK WE ARE SEEING THE RESULTS OF THAT.

LEN DOWNIE: I THINK PART OF CALLING THE MEDIA LIARS AND FAKE NEWS IS TO COVER UP THEIR OWN UNTRUTHS. THE PRESIDENT ONCE AGAIN IN HIS SPEECH TO CONGRESS WHICH WAS PRAISED FOR BEING MORE PRESIDENTIAL I THINK FACT CHECKERS COUNTED 12-13 MAJOR MISSTATEMENTS IN THAT ALONE. NOT TO MENTION THE FACT WE HAVE AN ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO IS UNDER FIRE FOR NOT TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS MEETINGS WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR DURING HIS CAMPAIGN.

TED SIMONS: AND YET YOU KNOW THAT PEOPLE HEAR THESE STORIES -- YOU COULD GO FROM NOW UNTIL NEXT THURSDAY TALK ABOUT HOW MANY THINGS WERE WRONG IN THE JOINT MESSAGE AND THEY ARE GOING TO SAY YOU ARE JUST AGAINST TRUMP. YOU HAVE AN AGENDA AND ARE AGAINST TRUMP.

LEN DOWNIE: ULTIMATELY HE IS GOING TO BE JUDGED ON WHAT HE ACTUALLY DOES. DOES HE SUCCEED IN CARRYING OUT HIS PROMISES. DOES HE DO THINGS THAT REALLY DISTURB AMERICANS? PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE EXCITED ABOUT HIM CALLING THE PRESS NAMES WOULD STILL BE VERY DISTURBED IF HE DID UNCONSTITUTIONAL THINGS. WE HAVE SEEN THAT HAPPEN. IT HAPPENED WITH RICHARD NIXON. THE SILENT MAJORITY ELECTED THAT HIM BY A LANDSLIDE THE SECOND TIME EVEN AFTER WATERGATE HAD BEGUN TURNED ON HIM WHEN THEY SAW THAT IN FACT HE WAS DOING THINGS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS JOURNALISM IS CONCERNED, IS THERE TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON NEUTRALITY WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH SOMEONE LIKE A DONALD TRUMP. YOU DON'T WANT TO BE COMING OFF AS ANTI-TRUMP YOU DON'T WANT THE LIBERAL BIAS, CONSERVATIVE BIAS, WHATEVER.

JULIA WALLACE: I THINK WE NEED TO DO THAT. I THINK WE NEED TO BASICALLY WHATEVER BIASES WE HAVE FILTER THEM OUT AND TELL THE TRUTH AS IT IS. I THINK THAT ULTIMATELY THAT WINS THE DAY. THAT IS WHAT WON THE DAY IN WATERGATE THAT'S WHAT WON THE DAY IN VIETNAM. TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE OPINION PEOPLE ON EITHER SIDE BUT ULTIMATELY WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IS IMPORTANT. I THINK WE ARE MOVING FROM PHASE ONE TO PHASE TWO OF HIS PRESIDENCY. PHASE ONE WAS HE IS TELLING US I AM TALKING ABOUT THIS AND SAY THIS IS TRUE AND THESE FACTS AREN'T TRUE. WE ARE STILL MOVING INTO THE ACTUAL ACTION. WHERE ARE THEY MOVING THE MONEY? WHAT REGULATIONS ARE GOING TO GET CUT? THERE IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF FACTS AND INFORMATION THAT WE WILL DIG OUT AND EXPOSE. PEOPLE MAY LIKE IT OR THEY MAY NOT.

LEN DOWNIE: SO MANY THINGS THAT WILL AFFECT PEOPLE'S LIVES, IF THE EPA CUTS MEAN THAT MORE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE DRINKING WITH LEAD IN IT THEY ARE GOING TO NOTICE IT AND BE UPSET BY IT. HOW PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED BY THE ACTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT WILL ULTIMATELY DECIDE THEIR VIEWS OF HIM BECAUSE THEY FELT IGNORED BY THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION AND NOW WE WILL SEE IF THEY LIKE THE WAY THEY ARE TREATED BY THIS ONE.

TED SIMONS: AND WE WILL SEE HOW THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE REPORTS ON THE PRESIDENT. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US WE APPRECIATE IT. COMING UP WE'LL TALK ABOUT U.S. FOREIGN POLICY, ISIS AND THE MORAL AND POLITICAL COSTS OF WAR WITH AN AWARD WINNING JOURNALIST AND SOCIOLOGIST. THAT'S NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON.

President Donald Trump said the fake news media, which he said included the New York Times, CNN and NBC News, is the enemy of the American people. It’s his latest salvo against the media, which one of his top aides called the “opposition party.” We’ll discuss Trump’s tempestuous relationship with the media with Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and who also worked for the Washington Post during its Watergate coverage, and Julia Wallace, the Frank Russell Chair at the Cronkite School.

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In this segment:

Len Downie: a professor at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and the former executive editor of the Washington Post, Julia Wallace: the Frank Russel Chair of Journalism at ASU's Cronkite school.

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