Story and Photo by Taylor Jacobs
On Thursday, April 27th York College’s Enrichment Seminar, “Journalism in the Trump Era” highlighted the ongoing attacks on the press from Donald Trump despite his highly media driven candidacy and what is the main factor that ultimately won his campaign.
The conference consisted of guest speakers from various journalistic backgrounds: Glenn Thrush, New York Times White House Correspondent, Charlie Kaye, former CBS News Executive Producer currently Executive Producing Radio, and Sheryl Huggins Salomon of Ebony Magazine.
York’s own Journalism Professors Tom Moore and Glenn Lewis organized the event geared towards Journalism aspirants. Professor Moore kicks things off with a clip of a SNL spoof, where Melissa Mccarthy imitates Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Bobby Moynihan characterizes Glenn Thrush, that mocks the White House cabinet’s bully reputation during press proceedings. Afterward, Glenn Lewis led the discussion with a series of questions for the speakers.
The main concern brought up for discussion is that the “traditional party system,” as Professor Lewis puts it, is being shaped by extreme political ideals that are resulting negatively on the news coverage and moreover on people being governed. Sheryl Salomons says, “If you focus on what the president tweets, without looking from ground up it causes a distraction,” arguing that is important for reporters to dig deeper and to look into a situation from a different angle as opposed to just reporting what is already being publicized as it most likely already watered down and will only reveal bits and pieces of the truth.
“One of the extraordinary things that is the result of the Trump presidency is that some of the basic rules of Journalism have changed and have changed quickly. The concept of objective Journalism no longer exists when covering the president of the United States or other members of the administration. There is an assumption that what the President says may not be true and the listener, [viewer], or reader is entitled to know that,” says Charlie Kaye before posing the question as to whether this new element of Journalism will outlast the Trump presidency and become a tradition for the ones to follow.
Professor Lewis poses the question to Glenn Thrush of what can be done by the press to have a greater impact on how white house policies play out in areas regarding immigrant, minority, and women’s rights. In response he says, “Let’s just be honest about the ethnic, racial, and gender composition of the white house press, it is still almost entirely white. I think there’s a good gender mix [though]. In addition to there being a general lack of racial and ethnic diversity, there is a lack of economic class diversity in most news organizations, so we begin with that predicate. The people that are covering the news in general do not look like this room,” speaking to the various races among the audience of students and faculty in attendance. Thrush argues that however empathetic this demographic of individuals may be towards issues, they are not as invested fundamentally as people that represent communities connected to a cause being that they are not covering the news from that point of view. “The cool thing to do if you are going to cover the presidency is come at it from a foreign policy perspective,” Thrush Says.