Trump media war is out of control

trump mediaDonald Trump is right. Some of the news reported by the press is fake.

It is not right. It never happened. But deep down he realizes that much of it is accurate and dead on. His problem is the way the media analyzes the news that it gathers. He also does not like that the press ignores much of the good news coming out of the White House.

That’s why we witnessed the unprofessional exchange between Trump and the media the day after the mid term elections.  CNN reporter Jim Acosta lost his White House press credential because of it.

I’ve never witnessed a more hostile media-source environment than the one between Trump and the media.

Much of it is Trump’s fault. He created the environment and people who work for him are fueling it. Here is why I believe some of the news never happened. Most of it comes from unnamed sources. Sometimes those sources are wrong. Sometimes those sources only know part of the truth. Sometimes those sources have an agenda.

The reporter must trust that the source is telling the truth and knows the entire story. Most of the time they do. Some of the time they don’t.

From my years as a reporter I’ve found that leaks begin when people inside an organization don’t believe in the leader or in the product. There are people inside the West Wing who disagree with Trump’s policies and the way he is running the country.

I was not allowed to used unnamed sources most of the time. During the rare times I was allowed I had to name the source to my editor. That always made me nervous because if the source’s name got out they could lose their job and I could lose access.

The White House sources believe that they are doing what’s best for the country when they leak stories to the press. If Trump talks about something privately they deem to be bad for the people, they leak it in hopes that public pressure causes Trump to change his position or soften his view.

I do not believe that reporters from the Washington Post or the New York Times wake up in the morning looking to make up stories about Trump. But I do believe they look for dirt on Trump.

Trump created this environment by being rude to the press and his Republican opponents during the primary. Trump can’t be a bully and then when things blow back in his face plead for everybody to be civil. That’s not the way it works. People go by the  motto of I will treat you like you treat me.

For example. If you invite me over to your house and I am polite, how are you going to treat me?

If you invite me over to your house and I complain that the drapes and carpet are ugly and I grab the wife by the ass, would you treat me differently? I would guess yes.

Trump has been that rude and drunk guest for two years now. What does he expect?

Trump stirred up the hornets nest during the latest press conference by talking about the dishonest and fake media for the billionth time. That set the tone for a hostile meeting.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta did some grandstanding and should have relinquished his microphone after his first question. He brushed aside an interns attempt to take the microphone away. His actions were wrong but not enough to have his credentials revoked.

However, he should have backed down no matter how mad he was. The media is not supposed to be part of the story.

On this day I am calling a double technical foul on Trump and Acosta along with two minutes in the penalty box.

 

 

 

 

I miss my tennis road dogs

burwellWe were drenched in sweat as we trudged into an Atlanta Buckhead restaurant with tennis rackets in hand for lunch and a refreshing drink.

We’d just completed a couple seats of doubles tennis in the Georgia heat during an off day during the opening round of the 1991 playoff series between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.

I was enjoying an afternoon with my road dogs at the time. Later that night we’d create some devilish times also. Free Press sports writer Drew Sharp and Washington Post columnist Mike Wilbon sat across the table from Detroit News columnist Byron Burwell and myself.

I must have loved these guys because I never called any of them by their given names. Wilbon was “Bubbles” for reasons I can’t remember. I called Burwell Home Box Head because he had a gigantic head and appeared on HBO. Drew was Boodini.

We swapped NBA and newspaper stories and I’m sure Wilbon told Charles Barkley tale or two, which always cracked us up. Wilbon and Chuck were boys and worked on a couple books together. I’d had my funny moments with Barkley, including the time he allowed me to stay in the dressing room after the media was kicked out before a game at the Palace.

And there was the time Barkley went on a 20 minute filibuster on Manute Bol’s feet and ashy legs. I bent over in laughter as Bol, who stood a helpless 7-foot-7, tried to get Barkley to stop.

Between every joke Bol would raise his arms and say: “Come on Chuck. Stop it Chuck. Oh Charlie. You are not funny.”

He was.

Back to lunch. Wilbon, Sharp, Burwell and I ordered lunch and cold, refreshing home made lemonade. This was not Country Time or powdered lemonade. This was the real stuff with real pulp and real taste just like momma made.

The real lemonade was $1.25 a glass, which was worth every penny. After we sucked down our first glass Wilbon asked if we wanted refills. We all shook our head yes.

We flagged down the waitress and told here we wanted four refills. A petrified look flooded her face before she nervously told us it would cost 75 cents for a refill. We thought her reaction was strange but Wilbon quipped: “I think we got the money so fill us up.”

The Washington Post, Free Press and News were paying for these meals and lemonade.

“She probably thought four brothers were going to riot over a 75 cent glass of lemonade,” Burwell quipped.

That might have been the case. She later apologized for her reaction and said we seemed like good guys. If only she knew.

I miss those days of hanging with my boys on the road. And I miss my boys period. We could never recreate that championship doubles match. Burwell died at age 59 of skin cancer. Drew died at age 56 of a heart attack.

Wilbon is alive but suffered a heart attack in 2008 and I was downed by a stroke in 2016. We all had major health setbacks before the age of 60.

Being a sports writer is an exciting and rewarding profession. But the lifestyle is hazardless to your health. The food is too good, the drinks too plentiful and you don’t feel like working out at a Seattle hotel after flying in from Los Angeles that morning. Wilbon is still on the road for ESPN and admitted during the NABJ conference in Detroit that he has not been able to take care of himself like he wants because of it.

I miss my friends. I miss my life.  However, I am grateful because I am alive, walking and talking without assistance. I want to write again but you can have the road.

I’m just fine here in Detroit.

Tennis anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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