It’s been over a year since the 45th President of United States has held a formal news conference, a scheduling lapse that ordinarily would inflame the White House press corps.
Trump’s war on journalism has, at times, featured streaming insults and threats to punish unfriendly outlets. He frequently describes reporters as “nasty” and maligns their work.
“So much fake news about what is going on in the White House,” he stated recently on Twitter.
“It’s actually an incredibly effective strategy to criticize the media,” said Harvard history professor Allen Dean Wallace. “It allows you to basically write your own narrative. When the reporting in the news diverges from that story, you basically just remind your base that journalists aren’t to be trusted.”
But Trump wasn’t the first president to use this strategy.
During President Obama’s last few months in office, he gave a valedictory address praising White House reporters.
“America needs you and our democracy needs you,” Obama said. “Having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder.”
And while those are worthy sentiments, we wanted to put Obama’s hypocritical statements in their proper context.
Given his dismal record on press freedom and access, it’s a little more than dishonest.
“As bad as Trump has been with the press, he took all his cues from his predecessor,” said professor Wallace. “Most people aren’t aware of this, but Obama was actually very distrustful of the media. His administration was just more circumspect about it, compared to Trump’s.”
So without further ado, here’s our top five times that Obama banned the press…