A group of famous journalists coalesced at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week to complain about President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media and the fact that they aren’t very well-liked by the public.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, USA Today’s Susan Page, WAMU’s Joshua Johnson, NPR’s David Folkenflik and CNN’s Brian Stelter all joined a panel called “How We Survive Attacks on Journalism” at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival.
According to a transcript of the event, the group spent most of the time complaining that Trump attacks them.
CNN’s Brian Stelter asserted that Trump is “poisoning the American people” with anti-media rhetoric, and even suggested that the country is in the middle of a “crisis” because of the president.
Johnson compared himself to a “preacher” and claimed that his job is to “humanize” the press in the face of attacks.
“There are also Americans who would really like to have that conversation that is squarely about Donald Trump, but they can’t have it with their wife. They can’t have it with their father. They can’t have it with their co-worker. They can’t have it with anybody,” Johnson said. “I get to be the itinerant preacher, to whom you can confess all of your sins, and hopes, and beliefs, and thoughts. And know that I will be here to keep a congregation in line.”
Capehart alleged that the president attacking individual journalists or outlets has never happened before and that the trend is “worrisome.”
“Even though his tweets can be unhinged and sometimes laughable … Sometimes, you just have to laugh to keep from crying. But when it comes to attacking the press, we have to take that seriously,” Capehart said.
The group addressed the fact that they are considered elitist at one point during the discussion, and even admitted that their trip to Aspen wouldn’t help that characterization.
“You think that we’re part of some elite class, in some vast, upper-echelon of the atmosphere-” Johnson stated, as Folkenflik chimed in, “And you get together in places like Aspen.”
“I was invited! I was invited. I was … This is for work,” Johnson defended.