The end of Barack Obama’s eight years in office combined with an incoming Trump administration has liberal journalists placing a renewed importance on holding elected officials accountable.
In an article published Monday, Politico’s Jack Shafer argues that Donald Trump has made reporters “free” to cover the presidency in a more aggressively critical manner than they did during previous administrations.
Reporters, Shafer says, “ought to start thinking of covering Trump’s Washington like a war zone.”
“Witness how many publications are selling subscriptions by promising to ‘hold Trump accountable,'” Shafer adds later, arguing that “It’s not winter that’s coming with the inauguration of Trump. It’s journalistic spring.”
Liberal media members on Twitter received Shafer’s rediscovery of journalistic purpose with enthusiastic applause. (RELATED: Journalists Exposed By WikiLeaks Will Now Cover Trump White House)
“Hear, hear! Has there ever been a more interesting time to be a reporter?” Politico’s Josh Dawsey cheered.
Clara Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of the left-wing Mother Jones, wrote: “Yes: Cover Trump admin the way you would a war zone.”
The New York Times’ Timothy Egan called Shafer’s article a “Great call to arms,” adding: “A journalistic spring under Trump if press can regain its indy soul.” (RELATED: Obama Booted Reporters From Conservative Papers Off His Plane In ’08)
Egan’s colleague at the Times, Farhad Manjoo deemed the article “so good.”
Shafer’s article comes as liberal news organizations are embracing a more adversarial approach in their White House coverage.
Conservative media members had a much different reaction to Shafer’s article: where was this adversarial journalism over the last eight years?
The Obama administration was unapologetically hostile to critics in the press, spying on a Fox News reporter and reading his emails, and seizing phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters, among other infringements on the free press.
New York Post editor Seth Mandel called Shafer’s article “an utterly (if unintentionally) devastating indictment of US journalism. Everyone should be ashamed.”
“We can practice journalism again now that Obama’s leaving and a Republican is coming in”–reporters who should stop thinking out loud.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 16, 2017
Commentary editor John Podhoretz said Shafer was advocating for the press to cover the Trump administration “the way every Republican presidency is covered–and how every Dem presidency isn’t?”
Let’s fix this headline: Trump Is Making Journalists … Do Their Job Again? https://t.co/xUdAPMUFld
— Rachel Stoltzfoos (@RachelStoltz) January 16, 2017
What better way to signal to 86% of the public who don’t trust news media anymore than to readily admit you took last 8 years off. https://t.co/rdd3eCi352
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) January 16, 2017