President Trump has said on many occasions that the Washington media is the “enemy of the people,” and the media has treated him like a uniquely evil villain in return. But according to CBS reporter Major Garrett, Trump isn’t nearly the foil for the media that he makes himself out to be on television. In fact, Garrett said in an interview with the Washington Examiner, Trump was quite a bit more accessible and open to the media than his immediate predecessor.
“There is more access to this president than there was to Obama,” Garrett conceded. “We see him all the time. He takes questions a lot. We see him and interact with him and punch in questions with far more frequency than with Obama. Probably more so than for W. Bush.”
Garrett, of course, isn’t blind to the ongoing war between the press and the White House, but he said the relationship was more complicated than many political observers bothered to notice.
“He loves us, and he hates us, and he loves us,” he said, laughing.
“As much as he hates us, he at some level is addicted to us and loves to see how what he bounces out there bounces back. He takes a measure of the media and in so doing he takes a measure of the country because he does have a genuine sense, more than any previous president, of what it means to be a celebrity and what it means to be a celebrity now,” Garrett told the Examiner.
Surprisingly for a full-fledged member of the mainstream media, Garrett doesn’t even have a problem with the president’s frequent attacks on the press.
“On the high side, it’s calling the question: What’s reporting?” he said. “I have no problem that question being called because good reporting is not afraid. Good reporting can withstand, and it damn well better withstand, the harshest criticism imaginable.”
Coming from someone who works at CBS News, we can’t overstate how refreshing this was to read. Finally, someone in the business of journalism who actually remembers that he’s a reporter and not a liberal activist. We were convinced there was no one left.