After 18 months of getting the presidential election completely wrong, not a single mainstream media outlet has looked honestly in the mirror, admitted their inherent flaws and committed to any change in approach, management or journalistic personnel. Exactly the opposite, they’ve quadrupled down on the same old – same old.
Consider a media request for access as you would any employment application:
♦ Drug test anyone who requests credentials for the White House press. Conduct background checks, criminal checks and credit checks via a third party security vendor. Dismiss any applicant who does not pass a strict background check.
♦ Keep using twitter and facebook daily, or as determined to send direct messaging to a news-consuming public. Keep using social media, and/or any alternate communications platforms to communicate with the American People.
♦ Establish a strict dress code for credentialed media. No casual days, ever. 100% business professional, 100% of the time. No business casual, ever.
♦ Discontinue the live-feed broadcast of the Daily White House briefing. Stop allowing a press briefing to be the daily news lede ‘in-and-unto-itself’. Only conduct the WH press briefing when POTUS is actually in the White House. Set an earlier time for the press briefing – ex. 7:30am daily, for a set amount of time, ex. 1hr. Deliver the day’s bullet-pointed news as it pertains to the White House and current events, answer questions and be done.
♦ Draw a distinction between “interviews” and “press conferences”. Pressers should be short question and answer sessions; eliminate long-winded background set-ups for questions in press conferences. Background expository prior to a question is an interview technique during an interview, not a press conference.
♦ Eliminate “exclusive interviews”, which are notorious for editing and disinformation. When granting interviews bring in two media entities to conduct an interview; one each from either side of the political continuum, and they can interview together – taking turns on the questions.
♦ Ten hour work days. 7am to 5pm. Use TWO Continuous, Alternating, Press Secretaries, not just one. Focused intensity and urgency.
♦ Have a quarterly lottery for press briefing media attendees who pass the background check and application process. Equal opportunity participation. Seating = first come first seated, general seating, every day. Doors close promptly 6:55am, late = shut out.
♦ Drop the traveling Presidential press pool completely. Give the press a daily schedule, and then make media use their own resources to cover the events therein as they deem needed including air travel. Equal access without preferential treatment. This also includes foreign travel. The “credentialed press pool” only applies to White House pressers.
♦ When POTUS, V-POTUS, or cabinet officials travel, give first preference to local media, not national. Allow local reporters to ask questions pertaining to their community perspective on the event or engagement.
♦ Drop the insufferable White House Correspondent’s dinner fiasco. It’s a ridiculous and vulgar display; a bubble event, with no inherent value for the country. It is also a grotesque exhibition of disconnected indulgence. There’s too much work to be done, just go about doing it.
♦ Engage the legacy media as a communications unit. Deliver the Trump message as a communications unit. Have a self-broadcasted roundtable meeting of communications officials with a rotating group of media invited to attend. Maybe every other Sunday etc.
♦ Have POTUS give monthly EVENING press conferences; with part of the presser containing an ongoing and established outline to share progress on agenda. Perhaps half for ongoing efforts, half for current events.
♦ Re-establish a media work ethic by setting high standards, high expectations and a zero tolerance for laziness. Make the media rise to the level of professionalism required by never letting circumstances dictate your standards.
♦ Set an example with the recent display of CNN’s Jim Acosta. He can either write a public apology outlining his rude recent behavior, or he can lose his White House credentials. Make shame a great motivator again.