President Donald Trump’s criticism of NBC News shows how little he understands journalism.
When President Donald Trump turns media critic, he usually does so out of self-interest with bewildering results.
His Thursday press conference in Poland was no different. The president advanced a chilling theory about how NBC News should cover him.
Trump started by complaining again that CNN has been “fake news for a long time.”
He added, “NBC is equally bad, despite the fact that I made them a fortune with ‘The Apprentice,’ but they forgot that.”
He sounds like a delicate Hollywood star who thinks he’s owed something.
But what? His role at “The Apprentice” has nothing to do with his career in the White House .
He worked for NBC Entertainment, which is separate from NBC News. (One of his former bosses at NBC, Jeff Zucker, is now in charge at CNN.)
If NBC News showed Trump favoritism of any sort, there would be an ethics scandal. Yet NBC News, as was demonstrated in Lester Holt’s interview, has covered Trump fairly and forcefully.
That Trump thinks he is owed some favorable treatment underscores how little he understands journalism.
Please take that into account the next time you hear him issuing critiques. He may be lashing out at NBC and CNN because of past associations through “The Apprentice” and Zucker, respectively. Clearly, Trump isn’ t guided by timeless First Amendment concerns but by how he perceives he’s being covered in the moment.
In Poland, the president also complained that CNN has taken itself “too seriously” about a doctored video showing Trump, then a reality star, pummeling a man with a CNN logo for a head.
“I think they’ ve hurt themselves very, very badly, ” Trump added.
But CNN was doing its job. It pursued the story that the source of the video was evidently a Reddit user with a name that’s a variation of Han Solo. This Han has created memes that were racist and anti-Semitic — and later apologized for the comments.
Why does this matter? Where the president gets his material is crucial, because it will become part of his official record.
Why, yes, because the president put the attention there. If he wanted the focus on world events, he could start acting like less of a diva and more of a leader, one who understands the role of journalists.