Civility and the White House Press Corps

A reporter becomes involved in a  physical contest over the control of the microphone at a presidential press conference, ignoring the objections of the President and swatting away a young female White House intern.

CNN Anchor Jim Acosta was insisting that President Trump respond to his questions about what Trump characterizes as an “invasion”  of groups of migrants who are traveling through Mexico to the U.S. southern border. Acosta  disagreed with Trump’s characterization. After several minutes of back and forth, the President tried to entertain other questions. Acosta  refused to yield the microphone.

A lot of people voted for Pres. Trump; No one, to my knowledge, voted for  Acosta

Acosta’s behavior would have been frowned upon when I was a daily newspaper journalist many years ago but admittedly things were different then.

In 1983, FIFTY corporations controlled most of the American media, including magazines, books, music, news feeds, newspapers, movies, radio and television.

As of 2017, ninety percent of the United States’ media is controlled by SIX companies: Comcast, Fox, The Walt Disney Company, Viacom, AT&T, and CBS.

Acosta’s employer, CNN, is owned by  one of the big six, AT&T.

The late Ben Bagdikian, a former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and author of an influential 1983 book,  The New Media Monopoly, once described American media giants as a “cartel” that wields enough influence to change U.S. politics and define social values.

I thought of Bagdikian last night, when Acosta was greeted like a conquering hero on Stephen Colbert’s late night show. Colbert’s show , by the way, appears on CBS. which is owned by Viacom.

It is not an attack on the “free press” to question the influence of the media at a time when it is controlled by a  handful of powerful international corporations that have interests which we knows very little about – because they own the media.

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