“It is never our intention to lie to you.”
It shouldn’t be for any press secretary for any president, but the above stated quote from Sean Spicer isn’t reassuring to me, especially when what followed was finger pointing and deflecting.
The Trump Inauguration had little chance of going off without any controversy. The ceremony has been under extreme scrutiny ever since the climax to election night, shooting a barrage of reports and memes daily until the magical date.
But to be fair, having a concert lineup that looks like a Greatest Hits Complication Exclusive for Walmart is a hilarious notion to highlight. Too bad it’s the only item I could laugh at.
But the biggest takeaway from the inauguration itself which is the reportage and dispute over the attendance numbers, has me frightened over the state of the press.
In case your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr feed didn’t receive this (and in this post-truth world that’s very possible) pictures were shown comparing the Trump Inauguration Attendance to the Obama Inauguration Attendance.
As you can see, the numbers were comparably low for Trump.
Or not if you believe Spicer who reported that Trump drew
“the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
He then called out the media, claiming their false reportage was made only to discredit Trump, and that the pictures were highly inaccurate.
It’s a case of Spicer said versus what the media said.
No, no it isn’t!
It’s not even a fair fight for Spicer. This is like a toddler against the Hulk.
PBS showed a time lapse video of the National Mall indicating visually that attendance never came close to the same scene during Obama’s 2009 Inauguration.
The New York Times estimated that the Trump crowd was only 1/3 of Obama’s 1.8 million.
And as reported from The Guardian:
According to figures shared by the Metro Washingtonsubway system on Twitter, 193,000 trips had been taken by 11am on Donald Trump’s inauguration day, compared with 513,000 during the same period on 20 January 2009 when Barack Obama took office.”
And of course there’s the Women’s March, which took place that following Saturday, which made the National Mall look packed compared to Trump’s Inauguration, having at least hundreds of thousands at the National Mall as well as more in other big cities.
Spicer also didn’t make matters strong for his initial argument when during a press conference with the media earlier Today, he tried the method of finger pointing and deflecting.
He pointed at another agency that gave him the wrong number of attendance. And then deflected to the number of TV and online viewers who instead watched the Inauguration from the comforts of their home. And if I were Spicer, I would have probably led with that to save face, although I’m sure that by doing that, he just gave a few reporters an idea for a great follow-up story.
If I can leave with anything from this fiasco, it’s that the relationship between the press and President is going to be rocky at its best and nonexistent at its worst.
And coupling that with a decreasing number of staff in newsrooms, a news competition skewed more on being first than being accurate, and the threat of fake-news confusing people, the situation is looking grim for hard-fought, important journalism.
The Trump Team IS willing to lie to you.
Make no mistake about it. And its supporters have made it clear that they’ll drink the kool-aid even if laced with razorblades. In fact, most of them will regurgitate those razorblades and throw them right at the eyes of anyone who disagrees with their leader and his spew of alternative facts.
But my question is with Watchdog Journalism needed now more than ever, can the those in the media that really care, continue to do their job in a climate that’s trying to make them extinct? And more importantly, how much does the public really care?
I ask that last question not expecting any answer through their words but through their actions.
Is the public willing to read, watch or hear? Is the public willing to still trust? Is the public willing to pay?