The Trump White House. The name, whether deserved or not, brings to mind a staff comprised of persons who hold political convictions akin to their boss and are prepared to support him through thick and thin. Throughout the Trump Presidency, it has been almost impossible to separate media coverage of the President’s controversies from those who advocate for him in the White House. But as of September 5th, it is now possible.
The unprecedented op-ed piece in the New York Times, written by an anonymous Trump “senior official,” has sent the media into a frenzy and created further chaos in the White House; however, one aspect of this article may be flying under the radar: the article may very well change media coverage of the White House for the rest of Trump’s presidency.
Trump’s election and subsequent controversial statements and policy have created a unique situation. Many in mainstream media and the general public disagree with Trump on a moral level rather than a strictly political one. When policy is viewed to be flawed at a moral level, its advocates are often subject to moral judgment as well.
As a result, media coverage of those working in the Trump White House has often been scathing. The New York Times op-ed article; however, calls into question the effects of the media’s coverage of executive branch leaders.
According to the article, a “resistance” is forming. “Some aids have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful,” said the anonymous writer.
An organized campaign has been formed in the White House, focused on “thwarting Mr. Trump’s misguided impulses.” In order for White House officials to do this, they must walk a fine line between aligning with (or appearing to align with) Trump’s agenda in order to remain in power and secretly working against Trump to “put the country first” and “frustrate his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
In light of this new information, the media may change their reporting style. Will they continue placing the entire executive branch under Trump’s ideological umbrella or instead report the “two-track presidency” described by the op-ed?
To cover a two-track presidency, “two-track reporting” will be needed. Just as White House officials have to walk a fine line, so, too, will the media. This will require discernment between true pro-Trump rhetoric and the rhetoric of those working to undermine Trump’s agenda. Adopting a two-track reporting style may be a challenge, but it is necessary if the media intends to accurately report on the Trump presidency.