At His First News Conference As President-elect, Trump Owns the PressSherman describe a journalistic circular firing squad and does some shooting himself ("BuzzFeed deserves some of the blame for this").
... observed as spectacle, Trump came away with a resounding victory. That’s because Trump won even before he stepped before the microphone, by making the media the story. Last night, BuzzFeed published a salacious 35-page oppo-research dossier on Trump that alleged Russia possessed sexual and financial dirt on Trump that could be used to blackmail him.... BuzzFeed’s article boomeranged back on the website as journalists were quick to denounce its decision to publish unconfirmed claims and errors....
Trump exploited this wedge....
The cumulative result is that Trump turned what should have been a serious examination of his incoming administration into a debate over journalistic practices.... BuzzFeed deserves some of the blame for this.
In The New York Times, Glenn Thrush writes about the press conference under the breathless headline "Trump, a New Style of Fighter, Takes the Ring." Thrush describes the press conference as "buoyantly belligerent" and said that attacks on the media were "underscoring [Trump's] toughness."
Folks, if you're continue to praise the mighty Trump and attack your own colleagues, expect to continue losing.
I understand the arguments against publishing the dossier. But if you're going to criticize BuzzFeed, remind your readers -- and yourselves -- that Trump is at war with you, and with all norms of responsible presidential conduct. Object to the publication of the dossier if you must, but couple that objection with a reassertion of the fact that the press has an obligation to hold Trump accountable, and to be very aggressive in that effort. Don't act like apple-polishing grade schoolers trying to rat out a misbehaving classmate to the teacher.
When Trump attacked Jim Acosta of CNN (which, of course, didn't publish the specific allegations in the dossier), it might have been a good idea for Acosta to walk out and for colleagues to join him in solidarity. Maybe the press should refuse to attend any future press conferences unless Trump vows to refrain from playground-bully abuse -- not that he'd keep that promise, but just getting him to make a small, phony concession would be a start. And if he refused and that meant no further press conferences, the hell with it. It seems obvious that Trump intends to use them as ego trips for Trump and opportunities for him to abuse his enemies in the media. Don't play along. Deny him that.
Show some respect for yourselves, journalists. You don't have to help Trump beat you up by beating yourselves up.