Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Reuters Tells Reporters to Be Honest and Above Board and Just Cover Trump Like Any Other Tin Horn Dictator


The powers that be at Reuters sent their Reports and Reporterettes a staff a memo called "Covering Trump the Reuters Way"outlining how the organization should cover the Trump administration: Pretty much the same as it would any other authoritarian regime where you'd be ridiculously naive to take the government at its word.

How do you cover someone who declares journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” and whose  Pres Sec. called the New York Times to label the press the “opposition party” and to warn the media to “keep its mouth shut and just listen”? So what's the answer? Avoid the administration? Oppose it? Trade flattering coverage for access?  Heck no: Just cover Trump’s America like you would a bunch of the other places Reuters works from.
"Reuters is a global news organization that reports independently in more than 100 countries, including many in which the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack. I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists."
Not that he’s saying the Trump administration is anything like those places. (Wink Wink) Just reminding reporters that they're there. Duh! And even in those difficult environments for reporting, which are not being directly compared to the Trump White House, oh, certainly not, the basics of good journamalism still apply: Get solid facts and report fairly.

So The Powers That Be at Reuters offer some Do’s and Don’ts for reporting on the Trump regime. Here are some of the Do’s:
*Become ever-more resourceful: If one door to information closes, open another one.
Or as they say in the business, make it up and use "Unnamed Sources" 
* Give up on hand-outs and worry less about official access. They were never all that valuable anyway. Our coverage of Iran has been outstanding, and we have virtually no official access. What we have are sources.
Yeah, we remember their coverage about how great Barky and John Kerry handled the Iran Nuclear deal, don't we?
* Get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us. Find out what the ordinary American thinks. If you're assigned a government “minder,” be careful to avoid putting the ordinary folk you interview in peril of retribution. Try to find chances to speak to people when you're not under surveillance. Be aware that in the course of pursuing ordinary journalism you may be arrested and executed for espionage. 
Washington, Tehran, not really that different.

And then there are the Dont’s:
* Don’t pick unnecessary fights or make the story about us. We may care about the inside baseball but the public generally doesn't and might not be on our side even if it did. 
* Don’t vent publicly about what might be understandable day-to-day frustration. In countless other countries, we keep our own counsel so we can do our reporting without being suspected of personal animus. We need to do that in the U.S., too.

* Don’t take too dark a view of the reporting environment: It’s an opportunity for us to practice the skills we’ve learned in much tougher places around the world and to lead by example — and therefore to provide the freshest, most useful, and most illuminating information and insight of any news organization anywhere.
Translation: Yes, the weather's nicer in Mombasa this time of year, but you can still do good reporting without whining about how Sean Spicer never answers your questions. Remember people, we have to set a good example for the rest of the journalists. Maybe there's even hope for CNN (Just kidding!).  And no, you can't put the necessary bribes for access to disenchanted left over Obama administration appointees and potential Trump back stabbers on your expense account. Okay, if you do, just be sure and log it as “office supplies.”
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