100 Days: The Media


      With President Donald Trump finishing his first 100 days in office, you might think we'd be doing a story examining his presidency to date. But let's face it: everybody else is doing that. In our mission to make sure we bring you original news, we decided to examine a related phenomenon: the first 100 days of the media under President Trump. For the media who insisted Trump would never be the Republican nominee and would never ever be president how are they covering him now that he is?

      Frank Sesno: There was no honeymoon period in this administration.

      President Trump: Am I doing a good job, right?

      Sharyl: Much like his campaign, Donald Trump continues to navigate uncharted waters as President.

      President Trump: No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days

      David Gergen: I actually think this may be the worst 100 days we’ve ever seen for a President.

      Sharyl: Taking it on the chin from the establishment: liberal and conservative alike.

      Charlie Sykes: So far, the only president with worse 100 days was William Henry Harrison who didn’t last past 30 days.

      Sharyl: Together with the media establishment, it seems nearly all were equally committed to criticizing President Trump’s every step, syllable and tweet from Day One.

      Frank Sesno: I think that the first 100 days which should have been, if not a honeymoon, at least um, a time when we can go out and have dinner nicely together, we’re not that.

      Sharyl: Frank Sesno is Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University.

      Frank Sesno: Donald Trump doesn't go to the White House correspondents’ dinner. Donald Trump goes out and continues to call reporters horrible people, refers to the media or some of the media as enemies of the people. I've never seen another president do that.

      Sharyl: What are the general differences you see in the press coverage between Donald Trump versus what you saw with President Obama?

      Howie Kurtz: Well, President Obama, famously got a very easy ride in the 2008 campaign and he never got the kind of sustained personal criticism that this president gets, just about every day.

      Sharyl: Fox News media critic Howie Kurtz says in President Trump’s first 100 days, much of the press has continued in campaign mode. Mocking, attacking and sorely mistaken.

      Matt Lauer: In no part of your mind or brain can you imagine Donald Trump standing up one day and delivering a state of the union address?

      President Obama: Well I can imagine it, uh, in a Saturday Night skit.

      Sharyl: How has the media coverage changed since President Trump has been elected?

      Howard Kurtz: Given that the media were so spectacularly wrong about Donald Trump during the campaignI thought we would see a little bit of a course correction.

      Sharyl: Consider some the worst media campaign projections as compiled by one website

      CNN: I think this is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.

      CNN: Really the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.

      MSNBC: I will eat my right hand if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.

      Howard Kurtz: Beginning with the transition and after the president took office, there was virtually no honeymoon which is traditional, the negative tone has kept up.

      Sharyl: In a general sense, the media really missed the mark during the campaign. What has the media done, if anything, to self-correct, that you've seen?

      Frank Sesno: Well they haven't done enough to self-correct in my view. What was missed in the campaign was ear to the ground, gumshoe reporting, to hear what people are experiencing and feeling.

      Sharyl: The “100 days” measure of American presidents can be traced to Franklin Roosevelt’s election during The Great Depression.

      FDR Library: In the 100 days of action March 9 to June 16, 1933, 16 major issues were addressed.

      President Roosevelt: I pledge myself to a New Deal for the American people.

      Sharyl: According to Gallup, which measures honeymoons by above-average public approval, Eisenhower enjoyed the longest one among modern presidents—41 months. Kennedy was next with 32 months. Ford’s and Clinton’s honeymoon didn’t even last one month. And Obama’s was about six months.

      President Obama: You can expect an unrelenting, unyielding effort from this administration, in the second hundred days, and the third hundred days and all the days after that.

      Sharyl: As a correspondent for CNN, Sesno covered the White House under Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

      Sharyl: What are your reflections so far on the media's treatment of Donald Trump under his presidency?

      Frank Sesno: This is a different ballgame. We’ve always had a, an aggressive press, we've always had a political press, we've always had a snarky, White House press. But this is different. I think it's different because Donald Trump has singled out the press and their treatment. He's declared war on the press.

      President Trump: And I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake. Phony. Fake.

      Frank Sesno: And this is where I think probably President Trump made a mistake. The media do still matter. Millions, in fact, billions of people around the world do still read mainstream media.

      Sharyl: Yet there seems little doubt that the media is breaking away from its traditional role when it comes to President Trump.

      Brian Stelter: I get a ton of emails from viewers right now asking us to hold this new president accountable hoping that CNN and other outlets like it will stand up to this president.

      Frank Sesno: The political filter has never been as thick and obscuring as it is now.

      Sharyl: What do you mean by that?

      Frank Sesno: We have more politics in our coverage. We have more ideology in our media. This is where the media are going to have to make a stand, and you know, Washington Post’s, "Democracy Dies in Darkness," well that's, you know that sounds like a sequel to a Batman movie but it's, it's also both a calling and a flag in the ground.

      Sharyl: It seems like there has been an unprecedented blurring, an accepted blurring of the lines of reporters who report the facts and those who then editorialize very widely on their own broadcasts.

      Howard Kurtz: They’re snarky on Twitter, they’re going on TV, and slinging their opinions and these lines got blurred. President Trump has been obliterated because it is deemed acceptable in many quarters to say negative things about this president, to say snarky things, to doubt his word.

      Scott Pelley: It Has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality.

      Howard Kurtz: You know, the anchors of a network evening newscast have a special place, people still look to them to be fair arbiters of the news and the language Scott Pelley uses while on CBS, when he comes out and essentially calls President Trump a liar, may win him applause from some in the mainstream media but it seems to cross a very clear line.

      Sharyl: But Kurtz says President Trump has also crossed a clear line.

      Howard Kurtz: When he uses phrases like mainstream media “fake news, “enemy of the American people,” that in my view goes a little too far.

      President Trump: A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people.

      Howard Kurtz: There certainly is reason for him to be upset with the way that he is covered. He can never seem to catch a break, if he gets a good story it’s gone within 24 hours. But enemy of the American people suggests traitorous behavior and I think that goes over the line.

      Sharyl: For all the animosity could it be that the media and this President are locked in a dysfunctional relationship that’s mutually beneficial?

      Frank Sesno: Some media have strong ideological um, baggage or principles depending on your point of view that they bring. Some see a higher calling and need for a different level of journalism. Some are just engaged and innovated because the ratings and circulation and clicks are up across the board because Donald Trump is the moth to flame.

      Howard Kurtz: When President Trump held that marathon news conference at Trump Tower, he spent a lot of time media bashing. He refused to call on CNN, he got into it with Jim Acosta.

      Jim Acosta: Say categorically that nobody...

      President Trump: Don’t be...no I’m not going to give you a question. I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.

      Jim Acosta: No, Mr. President Elect that’s not appropriate...

      Howard Kurtz: I think the president actually enjoys this, it’s almost therapeutic for him.

      Sharyl: How would you sum up the media’s behavior under President Trump, the first 100 days?

      Howard Kurtz: The coverage of the first 100 days seems to me to be negative sometimes bordering on hostile. Unduly personal, certainly fairly pointing out when the president has made mistakes or missteps or misstated the facts.

      President Trump: I turn on TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos! Yet, it is the exact opposite.

      Howard Kurtz: But overall can anybody really argue that Donald Trump has gotten a fair shake or even the kind of approach that just about every president in modern era has gotten? I don’t think so.

      Frank Sesno: Not one president I've seen in the past has loved their media coverage. They all hate it at some level, but they try to co-opt it. They try to work around it. They try to work through it. And so, I think here there is a, a very serious brick wall between the two. No honeymoon. No honeymoon.

      So we get a sense of the relationship between the President and the press but how do Americans feel about the media? The great political divide carries over to your opinion of the media. A poll by Rasmussen Reports at the end of February found about half are "very" or "somewhat" angry at the media. About half are not.