Yesterday more than 500 people attended “The President and the Press: The First Amendment in the First 100 Days,” the Newseum’s half-day forum that examined the Trump administration’s relationship with the press. Over four hours and seven sessions, the nation’s leading journalists and White House communications staff – past and present – tackled issues regarding the news media and its political coverage.
Early in the program White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, in an interview with MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren, apologized for his comment made the day prior at a press briefing that “even Adolf Hitler didn’t sink to using chemical weapons” in World War II, a comparison of Hitler to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad that sparked fury across the nation. Reporter Michael Wolff, interviewing Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, asked her about The Washington Post‘s new slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” suggesting that “darkness” implied Ms. Conway and other members of the Trump administration.
In between occasionally-taut exchanges, panelists delved into topics ranging from covering the Trump White House, President Trump’s use of Twitter, the future of news in a social media-driven world, and the desperate need to shore up local journalism. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Fahrenthold and veteran journalist Bob Schieffer each spoke about the role of the free press in our democracy; and panels moderated by Fox News’s Bret Baier, CNN’s Brian Stelter, and Mike Allen of Axios brought together members of the press and government officials with wide-ranging views on today’s most complex and pressing issues.
The program was streamed live on the Newseum’s website and on its Facebook account.
Generous support for this event has been provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Additional support provided by the Kovler Fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.