Philadelphia, PA (Law Firm Newswire) January 25, 2019 – Just recently on Court Radio, Dean Weitzman, managing partner of MyPhillyLawyer, discussed what is happening these days in the media as they attempt to cover the President,Donald J. Trump.
It all started with a question about whether or not politicians, and specifically the Office of the President, had a legal obligation to brief the media on what they were doing. The response was rather interesting and revealed an angle that many Americans may not have considered in the on-going media frenzy to cover different stories each day.
This episode of Court Radio had two guests, Jim Saksa, a reporter for WHYY and Alex Tarquinio, the president of the Society of Professional Journalists. According to Saksa, it is not unusual for any politician, including the president, to avoid the media and demonstrate a lot of antagonism. However, that said, what was happening was a shift from the usual way to gather news, in a news conference/briefing situation, to scrambling to cover Trump’s tweets and make sense of them. Ultimately, the damage is done to the media in terms of credibility in covering stories and to those reading it due to the fact that the media is spending too much time covering what he tweets instead of core issues that really matter to people, such as immigrant children in detention tents and the government shutdown.
Alex Tarquinio responded to the question: “What happens when the government decides we’re not briefing anybody?” “There isn’t any legal mechanism to [make that so], but there is a political one and if they decide to not give the press any information there would be a large blowback which would undermine their ability to pass regulations and legislation and do its [sic] job effectively.”
“The whole situation with the White House press corps is that they’re dealing with an individual who wants to acquire power at the expense of regular folks. That’s never a good thing,” indicated Weitzman. The line between opinion and fact and reality and truth has slid over the last few years. Some say the political coverage is walking a thin line between reality and fantasy and appeals to Americans’ hearts and guts, with the perhaps unintended goal of getting people angry. Others say that what is spoken by politicians today is divisive in nature and watering it down does not help the nations supposedly reasoned political narrative. “In other words,” added Weitzman “We’re feeling politics more now and not thinking.”
Says Saksa, “The formal [media/politician] relationship is supposed to be that the purpose of the press is to seek truth and promote understanding to help the electorate make informed decisions and to help expose corruption.” In order to have that kind of relationship though the media needs to have transparent and ready access to politicians. Is what Americans are reading and seeing on television, reading on the Internet and hearing on the radio fake news? In part it is according to what the nation has learned since 2016 about election tampering. However, legally speaking, there is nothing to be done about it, except develop a fine sense of what feels right in the media and what does not
Court Radio is a weekly call in legal talk show. Attorney Dean Weitzman answers legal questions, at no charge to the listener, every Sunday morning and also talks about sidebar topics and his own experiences with various cases he has handled.
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