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As President Bullies Press, Resilient Journalists Refuse to Back Down (Opinion)

Donald Trump Press Corp
SHAWN THEW/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

I have to be really honest with you.

As passionate and driven a journalist as I am, if given the assignment to cover Trump and his whacked-out administration, I absolutely couldn’t do it. I’m too angry about how incompetently our great country is being run and how our mealymouthed president has the audacity to characterize the press corps as “the enemy of the American people.”

Nope, I could not be objective in reporting on the absurd reality show playing out in the Trump presidency, and impartiality is what our profession demands. If Trump dared to attack me or any outlet I was representing as “fake news,” I would, well … lose it.

I’ve never taken well to being bullied. Just ask any of the industry’s biggest offenders, like Harvey Weinstein. I fight back. That’s not to say that the exceptional reporters covering the White House would ever allow themselves to be pushed around by this president.

There is no collection of comrades for whom I have more respect than the correspondents whose unenviable job it is to report on the absolute lunacy of a thin-skinned, Twitter-crazed president who acts like a five-year-old throwing sand in the eyes of the press and other individuals — including those in his own administration.

For this week’s magazine, our D.C.-based political editor, Ted Johnson, interviewed a number of intrepid reporters, including Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent; April Ryan, CNN contributor and longtime reporter for American Urban Radio Networks; and Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post, to give their insights into being in the trenches.

The three concur: Never in the history of the presidency have the tensions between the press corps and the White House been more contentious or more fraught.

“There is that natural tension that exists between the press and the people we’re covering, but it was never like this,” says Acosta. “We are all trying to make sense of and figure out: How do you cover the news in this kind of toxic environment?”

I stand in awe of the Acostas, Ryans and Parkers of the world, who are carrying the torch for journalists like me who could not possibly do their job.