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Sat May 6, 2017, 11:08 AM

Press critic Jay Rosen on how and why the media is normalizing Trump: "The need to be truthful...

SATURDAY, MAY 6, 2017 03:00 PM EDT

Press critic Jay Rosen on how and why the media is normalizing Trump: “The need to be truthful conflicts with the duty to appear neutral”

Journalists still use words like "policy" and "learning" to describe a president with no policies who can't learn


Jay Rosen is one of America’s most significant public media critics, though he almost certainly wouldn’t say that himself. Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, strongly prefers the more concrete and old-fashioned word “press” to the more abstract “media.” His PressThink blog, launched in August 2003, has always been closely attentive “to forms of thought that identify ‘journalism’ to itself — but also to the habit of not thinking about certain things.”

It was only natural that Rosen responded to Trump’s first 100 days in office with a thread of tweets about the problems that arise from journalists using “normal” descriptive terms to characterize such an abnormal president — including the problem that more accurate descriptive language sounds extreme and gets rejected. And it was only natural that Salon would want to talk to him, at some length about the issues he raised, in hopes of pushing the media — sorry, the press! — in a more reality-based direction when dealing with a president who still seems fictional.

On Trump’s 100th day in office, you tweeted a series of comments exploring how the press’s use of conventional everyday language misrepresents the abnormal reality of Trump’s presidency. I’d like to start by asking you about two specific examples you cited in your thread, and what they reveal about the press’s assumptions that drive coverage of Trump’s behavior. The first was calling the page of bullet points his “plan,” his “tax plan.” What’s wrong with that?

A plan requires planning, deliberation, thought, a certain amount of commitment. There’s nothing in Trump’s behavior in office so far, or in any of the reporting around how that document was produced, that supports that term. It was something that was rushed; it had nothing to do with the process of deliberation. It reflected his desire to claim some flurry of action as the 100-day marker approached. And even after this so-called plan was announced, crucial aspects of what he thinks is going to be his tax proposal were talked about later. So on the [following] weekend, for example, [White House chief of staff] Reince Priebus talked about including something about carried interest — I don’t know if you know what that is, but it’s a huge deal. That wasn’t even in there. So that is not a plan. It’s just an improvised sketch responding to an impulsive demand from an overgrown child who happens to be president of the United States.


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Reply Press critic Jay Rosen on how and why the media is normalizing Trump: "The need to be truthful... (Original post)
DonViejo May 2017 OP
bettyellen May 2017 #1

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat May 6, 2017, 11:51 AM

1. Such a great article- thanks Don! No policies- no learning and was sick every time I heard the press


Use those words. Now I get why.

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