Editor’s Note: This is partly what was just written by Brian Karem and published in Editor’s Notebook. I thought the part where he talks about the changing game that is taken place by this administration was spot on, and worthily for you to digest and give some serious thought about to what is happening in our country right now.


Lester Holt, the venerable NBC anchor is an example of a steady influence and calm hand who apparently nearly became physically ill when he saw my interaction with Sarah Sanders recently in the White House press briefing room. “Surely we can take these hits,” he said. Well we can’t and stop calling me Shirley. To be honest I’ve had a lifetime goal of disgusting everyone I know and I’ve apparently taken it to a new level by nearly making someone physically ill that I don’t even know.
Holt is a respected journalist and has earned it with a healthy career of solid reporting. But Holt and others are slow to understand the changing game we’re playing. The vitriol aimed at the press will soon escalate beyond the violence of being throttled by a congressman-elect in Montana. Somewhere in the U.S. right now is a young reporter going about his or her business who may have to pay a far higher price than merely being beaten – just because they’re doing their job. In Russia and other countries it isn’t unusual to find reporters killed. The day that happens in this country we’ve lost the high ground forever and we’ll be remembered as a nice experiment in self-governing that died in the dust of the vitriol and anger brought on by this last presidential election.


The reporter’s job is “obtaining the basic information quickly and accurately . . . “

-Walter Cronkite


If we have lost our mojo, then there is but one way to get it back: stand up and be accountable. We do not have to fight every fight that comes our way, but we have to selectively stand up for our rights while continuing to investigate and question a very different presidential administration than any we’ve ever encountered.
On one hand there are career bureaucrats in the executive branch of government who are doing a commendable job. As a very highly placed cabinet appointee recently told me, “I signed on for this because I truly believed we might have another Teddy Roosevelt as president. Many of our major problems exist because of the ‘swamp’ mentality. Insurance companies, banks and the media are too large. I thought we’d have a trust buster in our president – not someone who’d so quickly lose my trust.”
There are good men and women trying to do their job – and parts of the president’s message remains sound and good for the Republic – even according to the administration’s worst critics. But there are staffers suffering right now under the deluge of tweets, daily scandals and fights with the media – all of which serve to bury the president’s message and obscure whatever good he can potentially do for the country.
His fight with the media serves as a distraction from some of the failures – but it isn’t something we can afford to ignore. Our audience – if we want to keep them – would like to see us stand up for ourselves when appropriate to do so.
With that said, Sean Spicer also has a point. He is calmer and the press is also calmer when the cameras are turned off. McCurry takes responsibility for turning the cameras on and apologized to the press for that action. But you can’t go backward. The need for information – quickly and accurately can only be found in a press room and on camera.
This president has had fewer news conferences than anyone since Ronald Wilson Reagan. He is responsible to the Republic for which it stands one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all to give us an accounting of his activities on behalf of the electorate. When the president has reduced his communications with the public to a 140 character tweet several times a day the on-camera press briefing is all that remains of any accountability of this administration.


I’m not advocating rudeness,”

-Sam Donaldson

That frustration is compounded by the fact that those conducting the briefing often rely on very simple statements to explain why we cannot get questions answered. “The tweet speaks for itself,” is very common as is, “I haven’t had a conversation with the president about that (whatever the issues of the day are).”
What good are these interactions with the public if we cannot even get the most basic questions answered? Did the president have a private meeting with Putin? What was discussed? Why weren’t other Americans present? Is our president engaged in espionage? Pinochle? Tiddly Winks? What?
So, Lester Holt, sorry for the indigestion I caused you – but after more than 35 years in this business I for one am not going to roll over for anyone on this issue. I don’t want to be part of the story, but I will not back away from someone telling me I’m the enemy of the people either – and we cannot back away from holding the president accountable for all of his public actions.
For the thousands of letter writers who’ve encouraged us to stand up – do not worry. We will pick our battles and we will continue. Yes, we will – on occasion – have to weather the hits. But I’m hardly unique in saying we must occasionally stand up for what is right.
Sam Donaldson was well known for his battles with several different administrations. He, Helen Thomas, and scores of others used to battle daily for access and straight answers.
“I’m not advocating rudeness,” Donaldson once said. “But I’m far more worried about those who are disinclined to ask the hard questions.”
We must push forward. We got our mojo workin’.