The “dishonest media” Trump partially campaigned against may get a permanent demotion as they begin their relationship with Trump’s White House. Incoming Trump White House Chief of Staff and former RNC Chair Reince Priebus signaled as much in an interview with Hugh Hewitt.
He began by signaling an interest in changing much of the traditional president/press touch points, noting his disinterest: “I think that it’s important that we look at all of those traditions that are great, but quite frankly, as you know, don’t really make news, and they’re just sort of mundane, boring episodes.”
Priebus’ concern about not making news makes it clear that President Trump hopes to continue his near-dominance of every media platform after the 2016 election cycle, which granted him over $3 billion in free coverage.
There’s reason to believe that change may also mean no more press conferences. Trump has failed to give a press conference since July of 2016 and has eschewed the unpredictable and concise format for more tightly controlled, scripted and produced interviews, like the recent interview with Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday”.
Per Nielsen, that interview propelled “Fox News Sunday” to its second-highest viewership ever, second only to 2003 coverage of the capture of Saddam Hussein. Including the program’s three repeats yields a massive national audience of nearly 6 million.
As media companies are supported by views and clicks, and access to the president becomes a privilege, not a right, President Donald Trump and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus acquire yet another power: that of picking winners and losers in media by virtue of where they choose to appear.