Thursday, November 15, 2018

Jim Acosta and the Media's Sense of Entitlement

Friends, my latest article addresses CNN's ridiculous lawsuit, by which Jim Acosta is trying to force his way back into the White House, so he can disrespect the President to his heart's content. Outrageously, Fox News is voicing support for CNN and Acosta. Is it time for conservatives to change the channel, or chuck their TVs into the nearest well? I leave that up to you...

Fox News Should Be Ashamed Of Its Support For CNN And Jim Acosta

Conservatives are rightly shocked and dismayed by two recent decisions by Fox News, an allegedly Republican-friendly organization. First, Fox decided to ban President Trump's anti-illegal immigration campaign ad after CNN decided it was “racist”. Note that Fox, NBC, and other media outlets didn't discover this racism on their own. No, they needed that paragon of journalistic integrity, CNN, as well as a Twitter mob, to find it for them. Hardly a profile in courage or a sign of sound judgment on the part of Fox News.

Now, Fox News has compounded its sins by filing an amicus brief supporting CNN's recent lawsuit against the White House. The lawsuit aims to force the Trump administration and the Secret Service to restore the press pass of legendary blowhard Jim Acosta. The White House terminated Acosta's access to the White House grounds after he refused to surrender the floor during a recent press conference, and in fact he refused to give the microphone back to a White House intern who was attempting to reclaim it. This was the last straw for Sarah Sanders, who decided that some semblance of order had to be restored to the interactions between the administration and the media, and some standard of professionalism, respect, and courtesy had to be enforced on White House journalists.

Amazingly, CNN alleges in its lawsuit that Jim Acosta's constitutional rights have been violated. His rights to free speech, press freedom, and “due process” apparently entitle him to question the President, at whatever length he deems appropriate, on national television. The audacity of this claim is breathtaking, but that Fox News would subscribe to this specious logic is a bitter blow to those conservatives who thought that Fox, at the very least, could be depended on to give Donald Trump a fair shake. Not so.

Consider the facts: Jim Acosta is a free man in a free country. He has been lavishly criticizing Sarah Sanders and Donald Trump, on Twitter and by other means, continuously – before, during, and after the infamous press conference. No one is interfering with his right to free speech in any way, and nor is he unable to work as a reporter. In fact, more people are listening to the siren song of Acosta-ism now than ever before. One might even say that the...volume of his speech has been turned up dramatically, courtesy of the President's low opinion of him.

Despite this, Acosta and CNN claim that the Constitution guarantees them access to the President. Now, keep in mind that a pass to gain entrance to the White House grounds is technically irrelevant to Acosta's ability to pose challenging questions to the President of the United States. Trump can always refuse to call on Acosta at press conferences, even if the “rude, terrible person” is present. 
Or perhaps I speak too hastily: perhaps CNN feels Acosta is entitled not just to stroll the White House grounds, but also to buttonhole the President (and Sarah Sanders) as often as he wishes. Perhaps Acosta is even entitled to favorable camera angles, a glass of cool, refreshing water before each of his tirades, and a good night's rest before each foray into rudeness... After all, each of these factors bears on Acosta's ability to deliver his harangues effectively, and to scrutinize the President and his administration in a suitably public way. One wonders, in fact, whether Acosta and CNN are also entitled to high ratings for their broadcasts of presidential dressings-down? Could all Americans refusing to tune into CNN during White House press conferences also be guilty of constitutional violations? It's a question no American should dismiss lightly, given the creativity of liberal lawyers.

The truth, of course, is that, in a free country, every person is entitled to free speech, but they are also able to decide for themselves to whom they will speak. To put it in the starkest possible terms: the Fifth Amendment states that even those accused of a crime, even those self-evidently guilty of a crime, are not required to speak to the court that will hold them in judgment. And yet CNN (and its media acolytes) asserts that the President of the United States must, according to the Constitution, submit to the disrespectful and unprofessional “journalism” of Jim Acosta. Trump must allow Acosta to pontificate in the President's own house, and, presumably, he must give answers that satisfy Acosta, who otherwise will feel entitled to unlimited follow-ups, in pursuit of “the truth”.

The absurdity of CNN's position is transparent. CNN takes the view that President Trump, in his capacity as President, has no rights at all. He is merely a creature of the press. He is a punching bag, and it is for the Fourth Estate to decide how hard and how often he will be hit, and by whom. Ridiculous!

I encourage the White House in the strongest terms to fight CNN's lawsuit, to stick to its guns and deny Jim Acosta renewed access to the White House, and, in future, to issue clear and strict standards that will govern the expectations for other reporters covering the Trump administration.

The White House press corps is by no means required to support President Trump or to ask him only softball questions, but it is, or ought to be, required to show basic respect, decency, and professionalism in its conduct. And, if the journalistic luminaries in the White House Correspondents' Association don't like being held to the same standard as any other guest in the White House would be, well, they can vote for President Trump's opponent in the 2020 election.

Of course, they were already planning on doing that anyway, as we all know.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

And here's the American Greatness version: 


  1. Dr. Waddy,

    With all due respect, this issue has been litigated in Sherrill v. Knight, where a reporter was denied a press pass to the White House. Here are the two key portions of the decision:

    "Given these important first amendment rights implicated by refusal to grant White House press passes to bona fide Washington journalists, such refusal must be based on a compelling governmental interest. Clearly, protection of the President is a compelling, "even an overwhelming," interest, Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 707, 89 S.Ct. 1399, 22 L.Ed.2d 664 (1969), and we have no basis for rejecting the explicit finding of the District Court that the record in this case demonstrates that denial of a press pass to appellee proceeded solely from concern for "the physical security of the President." 416 F.Supp. at 1036 n.10. However, this standard for denial of a press pass has never been formally articulated or published. Merely informing individual rejected applicants that rejection was for "reasons of security" does not inform the public or other potential applicants of the basis for exclusion of journalists from White House press facilities. Moreover, we think that the phrase "reasons of security" is unnecessarily vague and subject to ambiguous interpretation."


    "Having determined that appellants' failure to articulate and publish an explicit and meaningful standard governing denial of White House press passes for security reasons, and to afford procedural protections to those denied passes, violates the first and fifth amendments, we affirm that portion of the District Court's judgment requiring notice, opportunity to be heard, and a final written statement of the bases of denial. We remand that portion of the District Court's judgment requiring appellants to develop "narrow and specific standards" for press pass denials in order that this requirement may be modified in accordance with this opinion."

    At the very least, the court ruling later today should provide Jim Acosta with notice, the ability to make his case to the White House, and the specific reasons for his denial. What the court should do is to immediately restore Acosta's press pass as there was no compelling government interest -- such as the security of the president -- to take away the press pass in the first place.

    By the way, Fox is supporting CNN because it knows that when a Democrat is in the White House that if this decision stands that a reporter can be tossed because a president doesn't like the reporter, the reporter's questions, or the manner in which the questions are posed, then their reporters can also get tossed.

  2. Fair enough, Rod. Judge Kelly obviously agrees with you. Sanders and Trump should now develop specific standards and processes that will allow passes to be revoked on a sounder basis. I still maintain that any President can refuse to engage with any reporter, and in the abstract the White House can, and should, enforce standards of professionalism and courtesy.

  3. Dr. Waddy, I agree that the President can refuse to engage. He just can't arbitrarily refuse access. If the White House comes up with viewpoint-free standards of behavior, and has a process (notification, appeal, written reasons), then Judge Kelly will back them. That would be just fine with me as well.

  4. Dr. Waddy: With you all the way on this. One course I would recommend to the President and his staff would be to assert in this process a definition of the term "bona fide Washington journalist" which says that one cannot be such and be a provably partisan political operative or an individual with or a representative of an organization with, an obvious, demonstrated personal animus against the President for his political views or his personality. Surely vital to the term "journalism" is a standard of objectivity completely lacking in the conduct of CNN and Mr. Acosta toward the President. Their clearly demonstrated stance is one of hostile political advocacy, not ethical journalism. It would be interesting to see this definition eventually argued before the new Supreme Court.

  5. Jack, if you adopted the "bona fide" Washington journalist (a term that Judge Kelly would not approve, but that's another matter), then that would knock out all the Fox News (aka State TV) reporters.

  6. Rod, Fox News supported CNN's lawsuit...and it pulled Trump's anti-immigration ad, as I point out in this article. Fox News is not the administration mouthpiece that you imagine.

    I agree, though, that constructing a workable definition of "objectivity" would be mighty tough. CNN and other anti-Trump outlets have run stories, though, based purely on innuendo, and which turn out to be false, and they then apologize for running them. If this becomes a pattern with any news organization, I would say it's credentials could be pulled. Also, terminology matters. If liberals want to opine in editorials that the President is a "liar", so be it, but if they call him that to his face, in the White House, I'd show them the door. It's disrespectful, even if it's true. Besides which, it's not the job of the press to label people. Point out inconsistencies, sure, but leave the value judgements to the viewer/reader.

  7. Rod: Touche! But I would still argue that the implacable hostility to the President enacted by Mr. Acosta and CNN discredits their criticism and brings their journalistic integrity into intense doubt. BTW, Fox News is the extensively accessed voice of the real America; that's a term I would gladly defend, even should Fox make occasional tactical errors.

    To the best of my understanding, Judge Kelly issued a temporary restoration of Mr. Acosta's White House Press Pass, pending a more substantial judicial examination of the legal issues at hand. They have yet to be thoroughly examined and argued. I maintain that a definition of "journalism" ought to be part of the dialogue because of what I see as a hijacking of that profession by the academic left (in its Journalism schools) and the lingering Sirenic example of two reporters having deposed a President.

  8. Rod: One additional point: it would be futile on the part of we on the right to attempt to garner "points" or credit or "indulgences" (if you will)to earn the gratitude of some future Dem President. We know just what is in store for the real America should that come about: a full blown assault on all we value. Andrew Cuomo is about to demonstrate the credibility of this prediction in his People's Republic of NY and the left won't be able to refute it.

  9. I agree, Jack: Fox's comradely gesture to CNN won't avail them much when the "comrades" take power in earnest. I have little doubt that the next Democratic President (if such a horrific fate were to befall us) will seek to de-fang the conservative media.

    Jack, I'm sympathetic to your desire to differentiate between journalists and provocateurs. Maybe it could be done. Perhaps a panel of journalistic experts could weed out the charlatans... Where would be find these experts, though, and would their credentials be widely accepted? I doubt it.

  10. Jack and Dr. Waddy, trying to define what a "journalist" is these days is a exercise in futility. So many lines have been blurred between opinion journalists and news journalists, and traditional platforms versus non-traditional platforms that you would never come up with any consensus.

    I do think you can come up with guidelines about behavior and decorum. I don't think journalists should be labelling people in the White House Briefing Room. I don't think a reporter should say to Sanders that she is a liar. I think it is perfectly appropriate to say that something is not true, though. That would also apply to the President. For example, yesterday, Trump declared that the President of Finland told him that they rake the forests in Finland. That's not true -- Finns do not rake the forest (I am half Finnish and have a number of relatives there). I think if Trump is in a news conferences, a reporter is perfectly within her/his rights to ask Trump why he made an untrue statement. Trump is also perfectly within his rights not to answer.

    To Jack, two things. Judge Kelly issued the TRO because it was likely that CNN would prevail in further proceedings. TROs are rarely issued unless that is the case. Second, I have no idea where you get the idea that the academic left has been "hijacked" by the academic left. Do you have evidence to back up that point besides your opinion?

  11. Dr. Waddy and Rod: Most professions seek, in the process of initiating their professionals (eg. in Journalism School),to inculcate in their initiates certain principles essential to the profession. In library school we were given to understand that librarianship is a service profession and that no anyone doubting this is beyond the pale. Surely, surely, objectivity is a subject extensively considered in Journalism 501 and well beyond and rigorously reasoned and practiced definitions of objectivity obtain there. Introductory journalism texts probably contain definitions of the term which guide (or are supposed to guide) new journalists. I have not read such a text but I will seek one; I would guess that such definitions emphasize the essentiality of objectivity in professional integrity.

    Let's suppose that the profession purports to hold that objectivity necessitates the nonengagement on the journalist's part, of personal opinions and especially, of his or her currently exalted "feelings". I think it a strong possibility today that that may well be rejected both in the schools and on the job. Even if the principle is maintained on the face of it, the left's often proven willingness to mask its intentions in Alinsky inspired duplicity, in order to gain power, probably guides many in the MSM.

    I think the academic left has hijacked many of the journalism schools because: The obvious leftist bias of the MSM strongly suggests that its members were thoroughly indoctrinated early on and with the understanding of professional sanctions in store for those who might dissent. Second; the American academy overall displays a similar, perhaps dominant, leftist bias (Dr. Waddy, your opinion on that?). Third, I've read many times of journalists having been inspired by Woodward and Bernstein for having taken down a conservative President (and having personally savaged him in The Final Days). I have heard of none having been motivated by journalistic revelations of William Clinton's crimes or Barack Obama's friendships with Rev. Wright, Al Sharpton and William Ayers. So I hold to my perception of the journalism profession having been hijacked (cuckooed maybe?) by the left in a manner similar to its destructive annexation of other established institutions such as the labor movement or American democracy itself.

  12. Rod, I assume President Trump was speaking of a metaphorical "rake" when discussing Finnish forestry practices. It would seem rather impractical to "rake" an entire forest in the literal sense. I've noticed that the Left very often takes Trump literally -- sometimes with the most comical results.

    You both make good points. Some version of objectivity is essential to journalism, even modern journalism, which is presumably why it was a story when Sean Hannity appeared at a Trump rally... So I agree with Jack that some formal standards for objectivity must exist in the world of professional journalism. On the other hand, I agree with Rod that, in practice, upholding those standards would be difficult, and it would get very messy if the upholders were Sarah Sanders and Donald Trump. Presumably the White House will start with standards that concentrate on "decorum" and perhaps expand on those later to include some nod to "objectivity". I wouldn't advise the White House to bite off more than it can chew in the short term. Drip, drip, drip. We'll have MSNBC singing Trump's praises soon enough!

    Jack, I certainly agree that the vast majority of journalism schools MUST teach with a liberal bias. I read an article recently that indicated that the partisan and ideological bias of journalists has actually (measurably) increased since Watergate days, and by a lot. "Republican" professional journalists are almost unheard-of, and especially so in Washington. Jack is right that no White House reporter made a name for himself trying to nail Clinton or Obama to the wall. Given the transformation of the legal profession into a vehicle for the attainment of leftist dreams, I would be shocked if journalistic standards had not also been subordinated to liberal orthodoxy. To put it succinctly, I think a White House journalist is about as likely to vote for Trump (or give him the benefit of the doubt) as an Obama-appointed judge is to rule for the Trump administration in a politically-sensitive case.

  13. Thanx.I flubba dubbed in using the term Journalism 501. I forgot that Journalism can be an undergrad major. is saying the President will reimpose Acosta's exile; more drama.

  14. Yes, I've seen stories to the effect that Acosta will be re-exiled, and to the effect that he won't be. Who knows. The rules published today seem like a fine start, but disrespect takes many forms, and so I trust the list of rules will grow!

  15. Dr. Waddy: It would appear certain it will have to do so, given the guaranteed leftist reaction. But again, our President is a skilled and fearless player and the new rules may just be his opening "gambit".

  16. I hope so, Jack. He's taken his time making his opening gambit, I must say. In the meantime, the gentlemen of the press have done grave danger to his public image and thus to the country. We need to swing into high gear!

  17. Jack and Dr. Waddy, Trump may be fearless, but to call him "skilled" is clearly overstating the case. He hates the press coverage he gets, but he's responsible for that coverage with all the false statements he makes. If he didn't tweet or make outrageous statements during press conferences, he'd likely have an approval rating in the 50s, if not higher. There were some structural reasons (retirements) that holding the House was going to be difficult, but his rhetoric made it worse, particularly in Orange County and the Southwest. All he needed to do was keep hammering the economy.

    So, skilled? Not really.

  18. Rod, you're right that Trump's rhetorical flourishes cost him with some constituencies. He was never popular in the affluent suburbs, though, and I doubt he ever will be. Would he be more popular if he refrained from tweeting and from...well, being himself? Hard to say. The press would work hard to undermine any Republican President, in my view, but they certainly do have a special degree of loathing for Donald Trump. You mentioned the economy as a major source of strength for the administration. To a point, sure. The one thing that scares me is that Trump is barely holding his own in the polls WITH a strong economy. What happens if the economy goes south? It could get ugly for our side.

  19. Rod: I think the President displayed unexpected skill in his improbable nomination and election. No, he is not a seasoned office holder because most of his life has been spent in successful business management, a profession which rewards horse sense and guts. If true appreciation of his already considerable accomplishments grows respect for him will increase. Getting used to this unprecedented character in the White House has not been easy for the country. In the film Lincoln the actor portraying Seward ably depicted Seward's incremental regard and affection, and the lingering remnants of his disdain, for the President. I see a similar process taking place nationally today in regard to a President who may well achieve greatness.

  20. Jack, respectfully, Trump is not the idiot savant you make him out to be. Well, maybe you are half right -- he is an idiot. You say he has been successful in business. No one really knows if that is true or not. He claims he is worth $10 billion. If course, he claimed he "only got a million" from his father while the files clearly demonstrate he received well over $430 million.

    The financial press "thinks" he may be worth $3 billion, but don't know because they don't have his tax returns. He has filed four times for Chapter 11, and who knows what percentages of his businesses went to creditors. He can't secure financing from any U.S. bank except Deutsche Bank, which suggests he may be getting considerable foreign financing, such as from Russia and Saudi Arabia (and who knows on what terms).

    Add on top of that the countless lawsuits in which Trump has been a defendant in the last three decades (1450), and the three dozen tax liens that the state of New York has filed against Trump for nonpayment of tax (all over which Trump has had to settle). While litigation happens somewhat more frequently in real estate development with all the contracting and sub-contracting, Trump has been sued more times than his top five rivals in the industry combined!

    I think Trump would appreciate your comparison to Lincoln, but, Jack, there is no comparison. For one thing, Lincoln was far more of a seasoned politician than Trump, having served in the House and been a Senate candidate. For another, Lincoln had integrity. I can't envision Lincoln sticking his creditors with debt (in fact, Lincoln did have to declare bankruptcy when his store failed and he owed $1000. He had to give up his horse and surveying gear and had to make payments over the next 17 years until the debt was settled. Imagine what would have happened to Trump!).

    No, the only thing I see great about Trump is his insufferable ego.

  21. Rod, your condescension is music to my ears! It's the Left's underestimation of Trump (and incidentally EVERY Republican President since Harding) that explains so many of its electoral defeats. As for Trump's business dealings, I haven't a clue how savvy or honest he is, and I don't much care. He was wily enough to navigate through a minefield of media attacks and fight his way to the White House. That should tell you all you need to know about the man -- he's not to be taken lightly. To be fair, though, I don't take the Democrats lightly either. They're utterly capable of winning in 2020 and beyond. Maybe they'll even wise up and try to co-opt some of Trump's issues: illegal immigration, trade fairness, etc. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? The Left is already trying to outdo Trump in ad hominem silliness. It's a start!

    1. Trump reminds me of Chance in Being There (esp. the part of him that likes to watch). He did not run a great campaign with the exception of being in the right states. Rather, Clinton was a terrible candidate and ran a horrid campaign. Still, if Comey doesn't come out with his announcement, she wins.

      He took a growing economy, ramped it up with $1.5 trillion of capital, and then rather than campaigning on a strong economy (albeit on a sugar high), lost the House because he focused on the caravan of "invaders."

      BTW, Harding won because a) Wilson was incredibly unpopular at the end of his term and b) Cox/FDR was a weak ticket. Harding also benefitted strongly from having Albert Lasker unleashed his advertising talents for him, and Harry Daugherty managing the campaign. Harding was not a great candidate, though not nearly as terrible a president as history has treated him. His premature death and the Teapot Dome Scandal hurt his place in history.

  22. Dr. Waddy and Rod: Another thought re journalistic standards. Having heard similar convictions expressed by leftists and seen them demonstrated in such totalitarian manifestations as campus speech codes, I think it probable that many modern journalists have purposefully recanted the idea that objectivity is paramount and have substituted for it fealty to "political correctness" and leftist dogma. Their obvious ardent devotion to this principle is to be found, as empirical evidence, in their consistently asserted political prejudices.

  23. Jack, I personally know dozens of journalists. You could not be more wrong. They report what they find. Trump gets negative news coverage because he brings it on himself. He has made over 6000 false statements since he has been in office. He picks unnecessary fights with people -- such as Chief Justice Roberts. Calling out those missteps is objective journalism.

    Show me where people like Maggie Haberman, Jane Mayer, Jonathan Lemire, David Fahenthold, Ashley Parker, etc. are asserting their political prejudices.

  24. Rod: You have presented a more objectively creditable argument in doubt of President Trump's business prowess than I have in maintaining that he was successful. Frankly, I know next to nothing about big business; all I think of it is amateur perception, informed at times by relatives and friends who were businessmen and by some reading.

    I do not intend to compare Trump to Lincoln overall but I do see a similarity in the withering contempt that rube outsider Lincoln had to weather ( and did so with a humility, generosity, foresight and moral courage perhaps comparable only to that shown by Washington in his willingness to endure pompous presumptuous fools in order to secure needed support).President Trump has chosen a far more aggressive stance. It is, I agree, hard to imagine Trump cleaving to the standards demonstrated by Lincoln in his laudable response to his setbacks early in life. Yet, one salient feature of Lincoln's accession to ultimate power was his realistic perception of those compromises which had to be endured in order to advance to the power needed to effect justice. We know he abhorred slavery since he had seen the horrid practice of it in commerce on his raft trip down the Mississippi. But he dared not express it fully and frankly, even as President, initially, not for fear but because of the certainty of disempowerment .

    Donald Trump chose to descend into his crucible at an age when most of us at his tenure choose repose and that argues strength of character on his part. It may eventually earn him the mantle of greatness or near greatness. Comparable to Lincoln - well, who could be? President Trump has inhabited a legal world far more practiced and complicated than that of Lincoln's time and can we assume that Lincoln would not have availed himself of the avenues now open to those who seek power?

  25. Rod, thanks for the primer on 1920. I didn't know that FDR had been a VP candidate in that year. The scale of Harding's victory is impressive. One can't discount the uneasiness that people felt over Bolshevism and anarchism...and the sour grapes over the end of WWI. Probably any Republican would have won in 1920. The pendulum will have its way, most of the time. Of course, history also suggests that Presidents tend to be re-elected.

    Could Trump have won the midterms by talking about the economy? I very much doubt it. The media isn't covering the strong economy with nearly the same obsessive interest as it's covering Mueller, Putin, Khashoggi, Jim Acosta, and every assorted Trump scandal it can find. If Trump harped on the economy, he would be accused of dodging the "real" issues -- and of soft-pedaling his main 2016 themes: immigration and trade. The leopard can't change his spots. Trump has to be Trump.

    Rod, I agree that most journalists don't baldly state their political preferences on air or in print, but that's not a very high standard of objectivity. Most of the bias we see today is practiced at the level of the editor's desk, not the on-air personalities or staff writers. The big question in news reporting is ALWAYS which stories are IMPORTANT. The MSM clearly believes every story, no matter how thin, that makes Trump look bad is important, and the hundreds of stories out there that make him look good (and which the conservative media IS reporting) aren't worth a hill of beans. That's bias, any way you slice it. There are multiple perspectives on the state of Trump's America, and only the negative ones get significant play these days.

    As for Trump's business acumen, I'm agnostic, but I do note that no one questioned that Trump was a successful businessman/real estate tycoon before he ran for President. NBC apparently thought Trump was enough of a model of business prowess to host The Apprentice. Now we're supposed to believe that Trump doesn't have the horse sense of a mentally defective horse? I'm not buying it.

    I'm no expert on Lincoln, but it strikes me that Trump and Lincoln don't have a whole lot in common, except maybe fortitude in the face of bitter criticism, as you point out, Jack. Will Trump be acknowledged as "great" in the same way Lincoln is? Not, I suspect, unless we shoot all the historians (possibly excluding me) and start over. I'm pretty sure Trump will be savaged by academia, unless their constant cries of "Fascism!" prove more prophetic than now appears the case... Maybe a good war could boost Trump's image? I can't think of much else that would cause the liberal multitude to rethink their loathing of him.

  26. Dr. Waddy, I am not sure if you know about the agenda-building theory of the press, but it explores how news events become put of the news agenda. In Michele Lockhart's book, President Donald Trump and His Political Discourse: Ramifications of Rhetoric via Twitter, there is a chapter about how Trump uses Twitter to set the news media agenda. Had Trump continued to hammer the economy in the election, he would have forced the news media to cover him on the economy. He just was too undisciplined to do so.

    As far as Trump's business reputation, the national image of Trump before he ran for president was that 1) he had high-profile divorces, largely as the result of his womanizing; 2) he was the leading figure in the shameful birther movement; and 3) he was on "The Apprentice." BTW, "The Apprentice" was not a business idea from Trump. It was a business idea from Mark Burnett, a close friend of Trump's. Trump was the "talent," and not involved in the business operation of the show.

    In New York media, though, there was a lot more coverage on Trump -- including his business operations -- and a lot of it was either negative or dismissive (Trump is a rich brat not to be taken seriously). In terms of business acumen, Trump was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth. There are a number of folks in the financial media who believe that platinum spoon is now lead.

  27. Rod and Dr. Waddy: This is a stimulating dialogue. Rod,it is but one point in your criticism of President Trump's business performance but I don't blame him at all for sitting on his tax returns. In the present poisonous political ambience, I think he realistically expects that an uncrossed "T" will generate an avalanche of leftist excoriation and he's smart enough not to provide ammo.

    Also, Dr. Waddy has answered your creditable questioning of my assertions on prevalent journalistic leftist prejudice better than I could and I'll simply say I agree with his riposte except to say in addition: leftist bias in the MSM was baldly manifest long before Donald Trump ever began to smell the marble. They interpret his every utterance and action through a thoroughly bigoted filter. Besides, where were you able to find several objective journalists in one place these days?

    Dr.Waddy: It would be a very long reach to predict that Trump could achieve Lincolnian greatness but if history (maybe, just maybe, freed of the fetters of political correctness, examines him fairly) he may be seen as the catalyst for the rise of the real America to the task of defending its own against a potentially terminal onslaught.

  28. I agree -- this is a very stimulating conversation!

    Rod, your comment that Trump was born "with a platinum spoon in his mouth" is well-taken. If all he is is a braggart, well, he's pretty good at it. You'd have to give him that much. And business is not all number-crunching. Some of it is image and "star power".

    I agree with you, Jack, that media bias has been with us for a long time...forever, in point of fact. I simply don't believe that the media CAN be objective, although there are degrees of subjectivity and professionalism, I'll grant you. The movie that's out now about Gary Hart could inform our debate. That was, as I understand it, one of the first times that a sex scandal brought down a political candidate. As usual, I think a lot of the crucial cultural changes occurred in the 60s and 70s. The cozy relationship between the press and the powers-that-be was gradually blown to smithereens.

    Jack, I don't doubt that Trump can achieve greatness, and in some ways already has, but to be seen as great and remembered that way is another matter. We would need to see truly revolutionary changes in academia, Hollywood, the media, etc. before there would be even a sliver of a chance that Trump would be widely lionized. I pray those changes will come...someday.

  29. Rod and Dr. Waddy: Rod, I don't know how old you are. I'm 71 and have been following U.S. politics since 1960. In that year the world of 1970 was unthinkable. So also now may be an America in which political correctness is relegated to the "ash heap of history" where it richly deserves to sojourne in purely historical significance forever along with Stalin ,Pol Pot and Michael Dukakis. The within living memory seemingly impregnable Soviet Union desolved before the very truth once that verity was advanced by stalwarts such as Ronald Reagan and Saint John Paul the Great. A similar rebuff for the latter day leftist onslaught is very much plausible.

  30. Jack, I want very much to believe that all that is true! I remember thinking that, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, surely many smug leftists would have to admit that they had been wrong all along... Not a bit of it. They repackaged a lot of the same attitudes as political correctness, or social justice, or progressivism, name it. I could see the Left suffering setbacks, yes, but defeat? I'm trying to imagine a formula for achieving such an outcome, and I'm coming up empty.

  31. Dr. Waddy: The present day key is Donald Trump. We must back him!We constantly underestimate him and his accomplishments so far have been, surely, astonishing!Who could have plausibly predicted them in 2014? The left has shown much resilience, yes, but it is not indestructable. Ask weary Russians about that. They haven't brought back the Commies despite their disappointments.

  32. You're a breath of fresh air, Jack! I shall cling to hope and try to keep the state motto of Ohio in mind: "With God, all things are possible." In truth, my pessimism isn't as strong as it seems. I view the medium-term cultural dynamics in the West as pretty darn bleak, yes, and from this flows a lot of gloom, but in the final analysis the Left's vision of economics, politics, AND culture is based on self-serving illusions and a stubborn refusal to see human nature for what it is. Leftism is and always was destined to collapse, therefore -- it's merely a question of when.

  33. Dr. Waddy: Thanx for your expression of regard for my views. I fully agree with your response and draw encouragement from it. Its not a reach, I think, to say that President Trump is a latter day Ronald Reagan. The left is hollow and and tragically false in its airy expectations and its arrogant assertion of the same. We must needs fear their acquisition of a limited and destructive reign ( say like the some 70 years of the Soviets?) President Reagan defeated their world wide dream of domination; perhaps President Trump stands fair to thwart them nationally (now if only we had a NYS champion - Cathy Young maybe?)

  34. I hope so, Jack! Unfortunately your observation about the Soviet Union is on point. Even the most foolhardy jumble of nonsense can be the basis for a long-lasting tyranny. It can take a very long time for justice to prevail...