Western Courier

The press needs more access

Joshua Defibaugh

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Of all the things on the list of abhorrent and unethical issues that have occurred throughout the last year of campaign promises and posturing, a lack of media, reporting and political journalism cannot be added. A day does not pass without Donald Trump, being the type of candidate that he is, getting featured on a primetime 24-hour news channel, like CNN or MSNBC. His word choices and speeches, campaign staff and hierarchical shakeups, and his apparent incessant need to offend every American demographic except middle- to old-aged white men, are the subject of much scrutiny from the likes of Rachel Maddow, Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. Bill O’Reilly has even realized that the Trump campaign’s chief concern is not policy but passion and pride in the form of irate rallies and racist remarks.

 In a recent episode of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly took a brief pause from accusing Clinton of being in poor health to address the stark differences between Clinton and Trump’s respective campaigns.

 “The differences between Clinton and Trump are enormous. And partisans on both sides are mobilized to the highest degree,” O’Reilly said last Tuesday.

 Disregarding the fact that, in terms of fundraising, Clinton is beating Trump to the tune of more than $400 million, there is one element that O’Reilly forgot to mention when it comes to the “enormous” differences between the two candidates: both Clinton and Trump severely limit the amount of time they each give to the press.

 Trump’s history of blocking certain publications from rallies and other GOP events is clear. He’s blocked serious publications such as The Des Moines Register, the Washington Post and Politico as well as other “journalistic outlets” like BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post. Even Barry Goldwater, one of the most contentious Republican presidential candidates in recent history, rewarded the journalists who covered him.

 Clinton, on nearly the same hand, has not held a press conference with open access for reporters to ask questions about her email scandals or any other problem in her campaign for nearly 270 days. The Clinton campaign also employs two planes: one for the candidate herself and her staff of guards and managers, and one for the press. It can be incredibly difficult for journalists to write and report on a candidate if the only opportunity one would get to see them was at an event, giving a rehearsed stump speech.

 One of Hillary’s principle goals in this election is continuing the legacy of Barack Obama’s presidency. If this is the case, the American people can continue to enjoy a stunning lack of fulfilling Freedom of Information Requests. They can also live comfortably knowing that whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are to be continually treated like the dangerous criminals they are rather than acknowledging the ever-deepening lack of governmental transparency and attempting to remedy it.

 While pundits and political scientists ponder on whether or not this is one of the more interesting or polarizing campaign seasons in recent history, the American people can safely assume that the information they receive from media outlets is neither the most engaging nor the most enlightening.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
The press needs more access