Reuters tells reporters to prepare for ‘physical threats’ and to cover Trump as an authoritarian

Reuters tells reporters to prepare for ‘physical threats’ and to cover Trump as an authoritarian February 2, 2017
Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons
Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

The Reuters news agency released a statement to its reporters this week discussing the challenges of covering Donald Trump’s presidency.

“It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists ‘among the most dishonest human beings on earth’ or that his chief strategist dubs the media ‘the opposition party’,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler said in a message to staff. “It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”

Adler compared Trump’s “regime” to those of authoritarian governments such as China, Egypt, and Yemen.

He went on to say that based on what journalist have learned in covering such regimes in “nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.”

Trump and his cabinet have already been hostile towards the press, threatening to ban them from press briefings and antagonizing them from the podium and when speaking through state-friendly outlets such as Fox News and especially Breitbart.

Reuters had advice for the journalists about just how to handle this regime.

“Give up on hand-outs and worry less about official access.”

“They were never all that valuable anyway. Our coverage of Iran has been outstanding, and we have virtually no official access. What we have are sources,” the memo said. “Get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us.”

Adler told his staff to “never be intimidated” by the administration.

“Don’t vent publicly about what might be understandable day-to-day frustration. In countless other countries, we keep our own counsel so we can do our reporting without being suspected of personal animus. We need to do that in the U.S., too,” the message to reporters said. “Don’t take too dark a view of the reporting environment: It’s an opportunity for us to practice the skills we’ve learned in much tougher places around the world and to lead by example – and therefore to provide the freshest, most useful, and most illuminating information and insight of any news organization anywhere.”

This blog, like Reuters, understands the threat to the press and democracy that Trump’s regime brings and will continue to cover the regime as a threat to the American people.

I am proud to count myself, my blog, my podcast, and anything else I am a part of as part of the resistance.

Trump’s authoritarian rule will be met with unapologetic resistance every step of the way.


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