President-elect Trump quietly snuck away from the press Tuesday night to go to dinner at an exclusive steakhouse in New York with his family. Why is this news?
If you had listened to NBC, this is something that seemingly puts the entire notion of freedom of the press in jeopardy.
The headline of the article claimed that Trump was showing a “lack of transparency” with his actions, as well as for being reportedly press-adverse since winning the election last week.
Penned by NBC’s Ali Vitali and Alexandra Jaffe, the article claimed the move was done to “deliberately limit access to the media.” While Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told NBC that Trump was “having dinner with his family,” this was apparently not good enough for NBC. The article then went on to this gem: “With his Tuesday night actions, the Trump Administration is shaping up to be the least accessible to the public and the press in modern history.”
A president ditching the press, while certainly rare, is hardly unprecedented. In fact, President Obama did it himself a few times.
When he was still president-elect, Obama ditched the press pool to take his daughters Malia and Sasha to Sea Life Park, a water park in Hawaii, when the Obamas were on Christmas vacation. At the time, even the New York Times seemed to mock the idea that something like that “passes for a bulletin.”
Then again in April of 2010, Obama once again snuck away from the press so he could attend one of his daughter’s soccer games. When asked by the press why they weren’t told of the President's whereabouts, then-White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that "the president decided this morning to attend his daughter's soccer game. The pool was assembled as soon as possible to be there as well.” By the time the press showed up, they had already missed Obama.
Although in these examples reports did note that it was rare for a president to slip away from the press, no one suggested the reasons for doing so were malicious or that it showed a “lack of transparency” that threatened the fundamental right of the press to report on the President.
When the media uses this kind of rhetoric and hypocrisy, it’s not hard to imagine why anyone would be averse to the press.
Thankfully, some did see the humor in this.
For those wondering, Trump apparently received a standing ovation when he entered the steakhouse.
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