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Argument: Beijing Trained Me to Cover Trump’s America Beijing Trained Me to Cover Trump’s ...
This week, the networks handed free airtime over to U.S. President Donald Trump knowing full well he would lie during his Oval Office speech. No less a giant than Ted Koppel declared, “When the president of the United States asks for airtime, you’ve got to do it.”
American journalists and media institutions seem critically unprepared to cope with the bad faith and corruption coming out of their own government. Repeatedly played by Trump, network executives appear capable of rationalizing any decision. If he came out to announce a coup, they would probably go ahead and broadcast it on the basis of its newsworthiness. It’s a sharp contrast with the skill of American correspondents dealing with hostile administrations abroad.
When I observe how some domestic journalists have tackled the Trump administration, I remember my own confusion when I came back home after almost a decade overseas.
I had spent so much time in China and other closed societies, often navigating sensitive topics with defensive government officials with skeletons to hide, that I no longer had the habit of asking straight, point-blank questions. Instead, I would conduct these circuitous, long-winded conversations, the kind you embark on in order to build trust and warm up a wary interview subject in places where journalists, especially foreign ones, are framed as the enemy of the people.
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