Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"There's a darkness spreading over Washington these days, and it might be time for everyone in the news media who cares about democracy to confront it," wrote the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik.

"There's a darkness spreading over Washington these days, and it might be time for everyone in the news media who cares about democracy to confront it," wrote the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik. (Photo: Reuters)

As White House Cracks Down on Press, Calls Grow for Journalists to Fight Back

"There's a darkness spreading over Washington these days, and it might be time for everyone in the news media who cares about democracy to confront it."

Jake Johnson

"This is not how an elected government behaves in a true democracy." 
—Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause

The Trump administration sparked backlash once more from journalists and activists on Wednesday by continuing the "disturbing trend" of prohibiting audio and video recordings of the daily press briefing, a move that prompted many to call for more pushback from journalists and media outlets.

Some urged members of the White House press corps to boycott any briefings that did not permit audio or video, while others argued that journalists should rebel by recording briefings on their phones.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta, highlighting the Trump administration's "near-total refusal" to take questions from anyone associated with his network, posted a picture from the press briefing on Monday, with the caption: "Video of this has been banned by the USA."

Author and historian Kevin Kruse responded:

In a recent column for the Baltimore Sun, media critic David Zurawik echoed these calls for members of the White House press corps—and members of the media more broadly—to resist the Trump administration's blatant attempt to interfere with the freedom of the press.

"There's a darkness spreading over Washington these days, and it might be time for everyone in the news media who cares about democracy to confront it," Zurawik wrote. "You can only talk to a bully so long before you have to act. Maybe it's time for such collective action again in taking an administration to school."

Following Tuesday's press briefing—during which Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was confronted by Playboy reporter Brian Karem for her "inflammatory" attacks on the media—Zurawik argued it is "past time" for someone to stand up to the White House.

"Will someone, anyone, step up and end these distressing displays of White House dysfunction and disregard for the obligation of the presidency to provide citizens with some sense of truthful information and accountability?" he wrote.

GQ's Jack Moore offered similar advice, writing: "This is a scary time. It's a crisis. The least you can do is turn your camera on."

In a statement on Tuesday, the progressive watchdog group Common Cause estimated that "there have been only five on camera briefings by White House press officials during the entire month of June."

"This is not how an elected government behaves in a true democracy," concluded Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. "Hiding behind the bully pulpit is a cowardly act far beneath the dignity of the office of the president.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Freelance Photographer Says He Was Fired by NYT Over Support for Palestinian Resistance

"What is taking place is a systematic effort to distort the image of Palestinian journalists as being incapable of trustworthiness and integrity, simply because we cover the human rights violations that the Palestinian people undergo on a daily basis at hands of the Israeli army."

Kenny Stancil ·


Permian Basin Leaking 14 Times More Methane Than EPA Estimates: Study

"Applying this estimate to all gas gathering pipelines nationwide for illustrative purposes would increase the EPA inventory estimate for the entire natural gas system by 27%," noted co-authors of a new study.

Julia Conley ·


Coalition Representing 24 Million Workers Demands Senate Vote on PRO Act Before Midterms

"Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would level the playing field for these workers, and show people which side the Senate Democrats are on," said one advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·


US Should Respond to OPEC by Reinstating Oil Export Ban, Says Green Group

"It is no surprise that the international oil cartel is seeking to maintain high prices," said a campaigner with Food & Water Watch. "Political leaders here at home must understand that the solution is not to increase drilling."

Jake Johnson ·


Coalition Says Biden Should Offer This Many Offshore Drilling Leases: Zero

"We cannot continue down a path that overlooks the irreversible damage of Big Oil," warned one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo