One of the hallmarks thus far of the Trump administration is the way the President has both lambasted the media and of course used it when he feels the need. The New York Times is “failing” and supposedly reports “fake news” but Trump was happy to sit down for an interview with Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush.
I’ve seen people refuse outright to read anything in the Washington Post or New York Times as well as CNN because they’ve been targets of the President’s ire. It’s silly because the news coming from those outlets is usually bad for him but when something gets “reported” that later turns out to be nonsense, it only makes it easier for people dismiss legitimate stories.
The Trump “earpiece story” is a perfect example. James Landale of the BBC tweeted this out:
— James Landale (@BBCJLandale) May 27, 2017
Since the President was not wearing the typical headset one wears for interpretation, the assumption was that President Trump didn’t bother to listen. That was not the case:
The insinuation was that Trump wasn’t listening to Gentiloni. But Trump did have his earpiece in. It’s just tiny.
Trump is notorious for being tremendously disrespectful to foreign leaders. (Well, he’s disrespectful to foreign leaders who don’t have authoritarian tendencies, at least.) But Trump ostensibly listens to what most world leaders have to say. He just uses an earpiece that’s much smaller than most of his counterparts around the world.
Gizmodo’s cheap shot at the President notwithstanding, it’s obvious Landale got it wrong. Nearly 20,000 people retweeted including some others in the media:
New York Times reporter
Yet another memorable moment for Trump abroad https://t.co/6eq9FLBMy4
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) May 27, 2017
Huffington Post reporter
Trump obviously speaks fluent Italian so there is no need for headphones for translation https://t.co/CTq0N5iJu2
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) May 27, 2017
So when a “story” like this gets exposed as the nonsense, it is, it only allows for people to be more skeptical of the press and it reveals biases within the media despite assurances they’re fair.
I had somebody say to me it’s easy to believe since Trump is disrespectful to other leaders and Sean Spicer doesn’t have the credibility needed for people to believe him. That is true. Trump earns skepticism because he lies so often. However, the press has an obligation to get it right, not assume it’s right. The burden is on them to report facts and hold the President accountable when necessary.
When they assume, they make mistakes. It happens too often and it’s a large part of the reason why the public distrusts the mainstream media.