Pressing Matters: A Dressing Down on the Way to an Ethical Oath

In Media Industry: Bill Plante Retires and Journalists Report as Anonymous Sources on Press Meeting with president-elect Donald J. Trump

Posted on November 22, 2016, 10:49 am
5 mins [post-views]

CBS Correspondent Bill Plante Retires: “Will Be Rooting for All Who Cover New White House”

Bill Plante, a White House correspondent, and former war reporter, retired in November after 52-years in journalism.

As a young reporter auditioning for CBS in 1964, Mr. Plante listed his journalism goals as “politics, general assignment, writing, editing, reporting, air work, you name it, I’d like to do it.

As a reporter, Mr. Plante covered the fall of Saigon, the Civil Rights movement alongside the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the Mississippi Burning case in the United States, and has covered four presidential administrations.

In a tweet on November 13, 2016 Mr. Plante announced his retirement and wrote that he “will be rooting for all who cover the White House.”

A Dressing Down on the Way to an Ethical Oath: Journalists and Broadcasters Meet with president-elect Donald J. Trump. Anonymous reports are the meeting did not go well. 

In an article The New York Time’s headlined “Trump Summons TV Figures for Private Meeting, and Let’s Them Have It“, the New York Times reports of the meeting, “He criticized some in the room by name, including CNN’s president, Jeffrey A. Zucker, according to multiple people briefed on the meeting who were granted anonymity to describe confidential discussions.”

The Telegraph UK reported president-elect Trump “held court” in a meeting which “at times resembles a reality show“, and wrote of a “receiving line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing a presidential transition.”

Anonymous sources quoted in The New York Post put it another way, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.

Other reports suggest journalists did not divulge the details of the meeting due an ethical oath in journalism which prohibits a reporter from discussing matters off the record.

Thoughts Post-Bull Session 

With headlines such as “summons”, it’s hard not to imagine why a president-elect Trump might assume he could offer a proper dressing down to major figures from leading U.S. newspaper outlets and media stations.

We’re also struck with the idea of why Mr. Trump (who has been caught on tape utilizing language inappropriate and demeaning to women) would not assume a roomful of reporters might record the meeting (or, at the very least – might take notes following the gathering), so as to better inform the U.S. public of the environment both inside and outside the building, which was being utilized for personal, government and political purposes by the Trump transition team.

In an environment in which terms such as “fascist” are tied to Mr. Trump’s presidential election, a period of U.S. history in which open questions remain as to the validity of the Republican vote count in states such as North Carolina, and in an government and political arena in which state leaders and representatives are also lined up like cattle outside a Trump “tower” to check-into the property, offer gifts to the president-elect, or to discuss nation-state business, we’re a little stymied as to why the press would agree to such a meeting.

It is almost as if articles weren’t published throughout the campaign which described reporters were being banned by the Trump campaign committee from speeches, or female and minority reporters weren’t being placed in danger covering Trump speeches (rallies).

There were times when, if a politician needed to get his or her story out, if a politician needed to detach himself from claims of impropriety, or needed to make argument against the New York Times publishing papers, such as the Pentagon Papers, the politician would be the one summoned to a board room at the New York Times.



Pressing Matters will be a regular feature written by both our managing editor, and other contributors. Hsquared Magazine is soliciting contributions by writers and journalists reporting on the state of media today. Hsquared Magazine is considering agreements in which our publication offers second rights to contributors. Hsquared Magazine is also interested in developing relationships with foreign and independent correspondents, and will consider cross-promotional agreements. For more information please email.


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