Media critic and NYU Professor of Journalism Jay Rosen had an interesting thought process this weekend about the Trump White House vs. CNN, and I thought it’d be nice to compile it in one place for easy reading.
My thoughts on it: I think it is a very interesting take, and I am curious to see how it plays out because it has potential to shift the entire dynamic of interviews on television, taking the cards away from the guests and letting the anchors ask what they want, how they want!
Link to thread: https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu/status/828032518565789697
Twitter thread by Jay Rosen (https://twitter.com/jayrosen_nyu):
Here’s my read on this news: CNN declines to have Kellyanne Conway on air — and lets that fact be publicly known
The background here is the Trump team ‘freezing out’ CNN and trying to punish it for reporting it didn’t like
Last wee, Jake Tapper spoke up about the White House refusing to send any representative to his Sunday program
Instead of ‘you get no one’ the White House is this week saying to CNN: you can’t have what everyone else is getting…Mike Pence.
But instead of taking a second tier guest — Kellyanne Conway — CNN came back with its own statement: you wanna give up the air time? Fine.
Why do these adolescent games matter? Any kind of push back matters for a press capable of cave-ins like this
Another reason it could matter is that the White House is pushing CNN into a little booking experiment that might otherwise never occur.
Weeks of news coverage ABOUT the Trump White House without on-air guests FROM the Trump White House allow CNN to test a proposition…
Does it really hurt CNN in the ratings when speakers from the White House fail to appear on air? What if the answer turns out to be no?
If the boycott and ‘punishment’ continue, and CNN does fine in the ratings, AND in digging up juicy things about the Trump White House—
—then it will have been demonstrated that you don’t need their guests to do well. If the White House wants to give up the airtime, fine!
Which in turn means: If the White House “comes back” to CNN, the power relationships between guest and host might be subtly altered.
When everyone on set knows CNN can live with it if the White House rep never returns, it’s a little easier to hold speakers accountable.
Works the other way around too. When a guest doesn’t care about getting asked back, this has a welcome effect on freedom of expression.
In sum: the White House thinks it’s playing hardball with CNN. But it may wind up illuminating an alternative path: outside-in coverage.
Compared to the shifts I have described here, news that Kellyanne Conway was turned away is just a delightful confection.