We are like the frogs that don’t leap from the pot as the temperature rises to a boil. When it comes to the White House press corps we are. As are they, the press guys and gals.
By that, I mean that we have gradually grown accustomed to behavior from them that is more and more outrageous.
We today feel it is okay for reporters to scream questions at our president as he walks across the White House lawn. We grew accustomed to that years ago.
We feel it perfectly normal for reporters to contradict the president at a press conference. It is par for the course for them to upstage the president. It is okay for them to disregard his requests.
We — and the press — feel there is nothing wrong when reporters hog the mike and speak or shout over the president. Or melt into tantrums. Or yammer on with their own views rather than pose questions.
We feel the same when the press corps behave this way with the president’s press secretary.
Let us step back and watch these professional journalists at work. They are as unruly as a mob of first-graders. A kennel of dogs at feeding time behave better.
Think of it. There walks the President of the United States. A hundred adults pelt him with 300 questions. “Mr. President, what breed of horse do you compare Stormy Daniels’ face to?” “Mr. President, is Melania sleeping in a separate bedroom?” “Mr. President, is your son autistic?” “Mr. President, did you kiss President Putin’s keester?”
The Jim Acosta incidents have brought matters to a head. And not before time. Acosta is from CNN. He feels White House press conferences are primarily about and for Jim Acosta. In his mind the rest of the press come second. The president or his press secretary come third.
His big achievement is that his rudeness makes the childish behavior of the others look civilized.
By the way, this is not about President Donald Trump. This is about the presidency. About the office of the President of the United States, no matter who occupies the office. About the chief executive of a nation of more than 300 million people. This is not about Acosta, a mere employee of a mere news network, unelected to boot.
And this is not about the freedoms of members of the press. They are free to ask questions. They are free to write and comment. They are not free to act like starving savages at a smorgasbord.
The White House yanked Acosta’s credentials because he was as rude as a drunk at a frat party. A judge ordered it returned because he was not given “due process.” The White House is now following due process. It has issued rules of conduct for the press corps. The president says if Acosta does not follow them he may order him out.
It is about time there were some rules of conduct for these birds. They act and sound like a pool full of seals at feeding time.
These are educated men and women. They claim to be professional. Though they don’t act so. They should not need to be contained with rules of conduct. They should be mature enough to know what is rude and uncivil without being told.
They would not bark and scream at a priest or minister during a service. They would hardly shout down their hostess at a decent dinner party. They would not disrupt marriages or funerals. There is no need for someone to write rules to rein them in on such occasions.
And there should be no need for the White House to have to tell them what is civil and what is not. They act like barbarians and ought to feel shame. But like barbarians, they do not and will not.
Throw them a few more fish. Make them clap their flippers.
From Tom…as in Morgan.
Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home in upstate New York. He has a new novel out, called “The Last Columnist,” which is available on Amazon. Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org, read more of his writing at tomasinmorgan.com, or find him on Facebook.