Quote of the Day:

[The clash] will happen because, while the press as an institution is largely in decline throughout the U.S., the White House briefing room is one of the mainstream media’s last bunkers of power.

–Ari Fleischer in today's Wall Street Journal

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer (under George W.) explains why the coming media battle with Donald Trump will be so fierce–it will  not be so because of ideology (though the press is ideologically opposed to Trump) or because the press doesn't like Trump (though they despise him), but because this is the last rodeo for an institution that is losing its power. And it will be waged most ruthlessly in the press's last redoubt–the White House briefing room.

Fleischer explains: 

The briefing room itself, the place where reporters sit, and the adjacent space in which they are provided offices reflect the power of the mainstream press, based largely on the media-consuming habits of the American people from decades ago. The Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News, for example, sit in front-row seats that have their names on them. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Washington Post and NPR sit right behind them. While approximately 750 reporters hold White House credentials, the briefing room holds 49 seats, and they are occupied overwhelmingly by mainstream media reporters, with barely any assigned to the new dot-com world.

The White House press secretary used to decide who got what seats, but this authority was given to the White House Correspondents Association in the middle of the George W. Bush administration. Nothing prohibits the incoming administration from taking it back. The valuable West Wing real estate occupied by the White House press corps isn’t the property of the press. It belongs to the U.S. government.

It would be difficult for anyone to argue that the press didn't do everything they could to help Mrs. Clinton:

The press hasn’t been kind to Donald Trump—and that isn’t its job. That job is to cover the news in a fair manner. But as the Columbia Journalism Review reported in October, campaign-finance disclosures show that those who work in journalism gave $396,000 to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump, with more than 96% going to Mrs. Clinton.

The one-sided coverage hurt them more than it hurt Donald Trump–or helped Mrs. Clinton–however. That's got to feel all bad.

Fleischer points out that we need a vigilant press but adds that the daily briefing has long been a show rather than an event to gather information for the public. Fleischer argues that the briefings, presumably revamped, are still worth the effort but that they are imperil because the media is so clearly undependable and unfair. He concludes:

I don’t know what changes President-elect Trump will make, but he has extraordinary latitude. If he decides to go around the press entirely, abolish the daily briefing, give seats to different reporters, appoint a combative press secretary, or not take a press pool with him to dinner, the reason he’ll be able to get away with it is because the mainstream media lost the trust of the American people.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had a good an interesting column yesterday–sentiments I don't often express, but the column was written by her conservative brother  Kevin, whose offerings are always a treat.

However, Dowd wrote a wonderful introduction to the column, which was headlined "Election Therapy from My Basket of Deplorables." It began:

The minute I saw my sister’s Trump champagne and a Cersei figurine as the centerpiece — my brother, Kevin, nicknamed Hillary “Cersei” during this year’s brutal game of thrones — I knew I wasn’t in a safe space.

My little basket of deplorables, as I call my conservative family, gloated with Trump toasts galore, and Kevin presented me with his annual holiday column with an extra flourish.

My colleague Paul Krugman tweeted Friday that “affluent, educated suburbanites” who voted for Trump are “fools.” What else is there to say, he asked.

Well, here is what Kevin, an affluent, educated suburbanite, has to say in his column, titled an “Election Therapy Guide for Liberals.”

Unlike the rest of the press, Maureen Dowd seems as if she might  be mischievously trying to charm the president-elect (whom she has interviewed frequently). She seems to woo by being a pouty girl (sorry, feminists, that is how it looks). Before surrendering the space to Kevin Dowd, she recalls the meeting Trump held with the New York Times editorial staff:  

Sitting next to our publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Trump invited everyone around the table to call him if they saw anything “where you feel that I’m wrong.”

“You can call me, Arthur can call me, I would love to hear,” he said. “The only one who can’t call me is Maureen. She treats me too rough.”

Sort of flirty, no?

Dowd is probably building up to getting scoops from Trump, but maybe what I perceive as making girlish overture (which doesn't mean she won't eviscrate him) is based on knowing actual, normal people and loving and admiring them.

Apparently, this is not the case with poor Christiane Amanpour, who opined, in a quavering voice, that journalists will be put in cages during the Trump administration. Possibly,but cages will be of their own making and in the form of isolation.

And, by the way, I loved the picture of the festive Dowd Thanksgiving dinner table with Cersie in the center!