President Donald Trump and the news media hold one of the most unusual relationships, especially when it comes to reporting on the presidency. It seems almost uncanny to believe that covering the President of the United States would bring along a lot of opinion, when reporters are expected to be unbiased. Trump hates the news media and believes they are “the enemy of the people”, which in reality if the news media reports fairly, they certainly are not. One journalist that was always able to report fairly and have a personal closeness to the different presidents he reported on was Hugh S. Sidey.
Sidey said, “The presidency remains the most sought after, analyzed and scrutinized political office man has devised.” In today’s world of modern media this is definitely true. No matter what is happening in the world, today’s news organizations still report on how the president is responding or how he, the president, will try to mitigate whatever the incident is. When in reality, these news organizations should be reporting on the facts and not trying to ‘spice’ up their coverage just for a few extra views or clicks. However, there is that sense of needing to humanize any written piece by a journalist, so the readers have a sense of hope. Henry Fairlie, a political journalist, had this idea when it came to the Carter-Ford election in 1976.
Fairlie’s piece titled, “Press Against Politics”, was written in hopes that it would rally up passion and conviction within the journalists that were then reporting on the Carter-Ford election. It is as if every journalist is afraid that he might be caught in believe in something or in somebody Fairlie said.
“The political world in the past 200 years has accomplished a great deal of good for a vast number of people. There is more for it to do: the art of the necessary is always in need of redefinition,” said Fairlie. “People whom we did not think of as poor yesterday seem to us to be poor today, because we have redefined our idea of poverty; we have raided the threshold, by the energy of our politics.”
Redefining the ideas of people is something society has done since the beginning of time. Society has redefined many things to adapt to new technologies. This is something that has to be done. Whether this redefinition or adaptation be done on social media or any other news platform. Journalists have an obligation to work with these redefinitions or adaptations to make sure their reporting is done ethically and done right when it comes to reporting on one of the most known branches of government, the executive branch.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sidey looked back on the monumental times he reported on the different presidents. “They are not as tall or articulate as you think they should be. And they’re not super people, so that is a bit of a letdown,” Sidey said. “Then you begin to understand, though, when you write about them as I have, how vital they are to the American system.”
The president of the United States becomes the one person everyone knows, like stated above, Sidey said the presidency is the most analyzed political office. The president becomes the one person the news media is constantly watching.
Journalists need to be more like Sidey and strive to have that personal relationship with others. Journalists need to try hard at making those personal relationships, especially if they are reporting on the president. Nowadays, it may be harder to make that personal relationship because of all the security the president has and the hatred for the media he carries, but making connections with the people that he spends his days with will make all the difference in a story that needs some sense of hope for readers. Once journalists start reporting on the presidency, they have that realization of just how important the president is to the American system.