The Washington Post published a good read this week about how right-leaning newsrooms are frustrated by the fact that President Donald Trump prefers the so-called mainstream media to them.
There's only one problem with the Post's report: It wrongly classified the Washington Examiner as a "Trump-friendly outlet."
The Washington Examiner has published materials that reflect well on Trump. It has also published several news reports, op-eds and editorials that have done the Queens businessman no favors.
On the same day that the Post referred to this newsroom as being "Trump-friendly," for example, the Washington Examiner's official editorial was titled, "Trump's dangerous blundering." Commentary editor Tim Carney also authored an opinion article that day titled, "The incontinent president springs a leak."
"We are not reflexively anti-Trump, as so many others seem to be. But nor are we his friend. We call balls and strikes as we see them, as we have for previous administrations," said the Washington Examiner's editorial director Hugo Gurdon.
To lump this newsroom with known pro-Trump propagandists is, to put it politely, total bunko.
Now, as for the rest of the Post's story, it's all true. When it comes to scoops and giving exclusive interviews, the White House has a clear preference for the newsrooms he so often attacks. However, the Trump administration is simply following the GOP's lead. Forsaking right-of-center newsrooms for the big, bad mainstream media is an old, old problem for reporters at conservative news outlets.
The Republican Party has for years treated right-leaning news organizations not as legitimate press, but as unofficial public relations offices. The real scoops and announcements go to major newsrooms such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and Politico, despite that these groups are also the constant targets of Republican rage.
Conservative newsrooms, meanwhile, get the scraps. They are fed garbage updates about ribbon-cutting ceremonies, newly introduced amendments, and other filler. They may even get the occasional GOP op-ed – after the bigger, older news groups have turned it down already, that is.
"It's outrageous how entitled many GOP staffers are with coverage from right-of-center publications. They act like we owe them something because they think we're all on the same team. Like we're an extension of their office," one former Washington Times editor told the Washington Examiner.
The editor continued, recounting one of the times a Republican staffer became irate after being informed that their submitted op-ed was not going to be accepted.
"It would be obvious it was a shit op-ed," the former editor said, "but the staffer would push to have it published as if we owed it to them, in a way they never would have with a paper on the left."
Journalists at conservative organizations have to work extra hard and move quickly with their news scoops, as it's extremely likely a GOP office, once notified of a news event via a request for comment, will shop its response to a so-called mainstream newsroom. Getting comment from a Republican communications staffer is also like pulling teeth. In the off chance a journalist from a conservative news outlet eventually gets a response, it's likely only after that office has already spoken to the "mainstream media."
This isn't speaking just from personal experience. Roughly a dozen writers from a number of conservative outlets have relayed similar experiences and frustrations.
(Fox News is the exception to all of this, obviously, due to the sheer size and scope of its operation. Until only very recently, Republicans jumped at the chance to go on the traditionally GOP-friendly cable news network.)
The big stories, the things that can halt news cycles, almost always go to the Times, the Post, and others. GOP lawmakers, it seems, don't think right-leaning media are big enough, influential enough or legitimate enough to handle news.
The White House is merely continuing that Republican tradition.