Journalism During Trump’s Presidency

February 2, 2017

THIRTEEN continues its commitment to responsible journalism, where news is researched, dialogue is respectful and diverse points of view are considered. Upcoming and recent public affairs and news programs are dedicated to examining the role of the media in a time of fake news and discord.

MetroFocus: The President vs. The Press

Jack Ford MetroFocus

MetroFocus co-host Jack Ford.

On Thursday, February 2, the public media news program MetroFocus broadcast a roundtable that explored the impact of the new administration on the operations of newsrooms, the relationship between President Trump and the media; the distraction of President’s social media activity versus covering policy issues; and advice the panelists would give to the media industry as the nation embarks upon the next four years.

Co-host Jack Ford moderated the roundtable with the following panelists:

  • Amy Goodman: Host and Executive Producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on 1,400+ public television and radio stations worldwide.
  • Ken Kurson: American political consultant, journalist, and author who currently serves as Chief Editor of The New York Observer, which is owned by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump and a senior advisor in the White House.
  • Betsy West: Documentary filmmaker and the Fred W. Friendly Professor of Professional Practice in Media and Society at Columbia University School of Journalism.

Watch the broadcast Thursday, February 2, at 5pm on WLIW21, 5:30pm on NJTV and 6pm on THIRTEEN. The episode will be available online beginning Friday, February 3 on all station sites,, and the THIRTEEN Explore app for Roku, AppleTV and mobile devices. Watch MetroFocus episodes online.

Reporters Roundtable with Michael Aron

On January 28, Reporters Roundtable, hosted by NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron, brought on Mike Kelly, columnist with the Bergen Record; Matt Arco, Statehouse Reporter for NJ.Com and The Star Ledger; and David Cruz, correspondent for NJTVNews to discuss “Journalism In The Trump Presidency.” Numerous falsehoods have been claimed by both Trump and the journalists who cover him. Has this trickled down to state level in New Jersey? Also discussed are Trump’s Executive Orders; the beginning the repeal of the ACA, cutting federal funds to sanctuary cities, building the “wall”, and the New Jersey Governor’s race.

Watch more broadcasts of Reporters Roundtable with Michael Aron online.

The Open Mind: A Free Press, If You Can Keep It

On its January 14 broadcast, The Open Mind Host Alexander Heffner welcomed Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, to talk about challenges to a free press in 2017. In the wide-ranging discussed, Simon pointed to the international significance of a free press and how what makes the news matters beyond the country of its origin.

“There’s a global media ecosystem that we’re a part of. We don’t exist in isolation. The work that journalists do in this country connects to the work that journalists do around the world. We share information. We’re part of a global information ecosystem called the internet. And so what journalists do in China, what journalists do in Russia, what journalists do in Mexico matters to us, and what we do matters tremendously to them.”

Simon is not confident about the state of independent media, free expression and freedom of the press. “I don’t think we’re winning the battle right now. I think we’re losing,” he said.

Simon feels that a fundamental step is to fight for technology.

“We have to fight for the technology that we need to distribute independent information, because there are powerful forces globally that are pushing against this technology that are using it for surveillance, that are using it to track critical expression, that are using it to control and manipulate and censor information, to disseminate propaganda….We have to fight against what I call the democratators, which are elected autocrats who hide their repression behind democratic norms. They win elections, they cite the rule of law, they express rhetorical support for independent media. I put Erdogan and Putin and the late Hugo Chavez clearly in this camp.”

Simon is also concerned with the physical safety of members of the press around the world.

“Journalists are being killed in record numbers. They’re being killed by actors like terrorists and criminal groups that are impervious to traditional advocacy. So another step we need to take is to really create a culture of safety where journalists, freelancers, local journalists — everyone who’s part of this community — have the tools that they need to do their job safely. We’re actually committed to doing that at CPJ [the Committee to Protect Journalists]. We’ve created a new emergencies response team and hired a safety specialist to oversee this kind of work. So those are concrete, attainable steps that we can take to keep information flowing, and that’s the priority right now.”

Access the full transcript and see other full episodes of The Open Mind online.

We will continue to present highlights of our programming that covers journalism. See our December blog on Fake News, Social Media and Public Discourse.

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