January 27, 2017

Despite statements made earlier this week by Alex Jones, the Infowars’s site-runner has not been offered White House press credentials. BuzzFeed reports that in a YouTube video, Jones claimed that the Trump administration would be offering press credentials to him and his news site: “We’re going to get them, but I’ve just got to spend the money to send somebody there. I want to make sure it’s even worth it.” Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Jones “is not credentialed for the White House,” and that they had not offered any credentials.

BuzzFeed has hired Steven Perlberg to cover Trump’s relationship with the media. Perlberg was most recently at the Wall Street Journal.

In an interview with the New York Times, chief strategist of the Trump administration Steve Bannon referred to the media as the “opposition party” and said that news outlets “should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile.” When asked about whether Press Secretary Sean Spicer had lost standing with the media for his insistence on the lie that Trump’s inauguration was the most well-attended in history, Bannon laughed. “We think that’s a badge of honor. ‘Questioning his integrity’—are you kidding me?” he said.

Frank Langfitt, NPR’s London correspondent and former Shanghai correspondent compares the Trump administration’s PR tactics to those of China’s authoritarian government. “Like the new White House,” Langfitt writes, “the Chinese government has tried over the years to convince citizens not to believe their own eyes.” Langfitt draws on his experience of suspicious interviewees, blatant government lies, and calls for journalists to be more “objective,” and recommends that American journalists “get out of the office as much as possible, report and spend a lot of time listening to ordinary people about their concerns.”

John Edgar Wideman

In the New York Times Magazine, Thomas Chatterton Williams talks to John Edgar Wideman, whose most recent book, Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File, was published late last year. In addition to his new book, the pair discuss the violence that permeates both Emmett Till and Wideman’s own family history. Emmett’s father, Louis, was hanged after a court martial in Italy convicted him of the rape and murder of an Italian woman based on faulty evidence. Wideman’s brother was sentenced to life in prison after a robbery-gone-wrong resulted in the death of another man and his son Jacob, was sixteen when he was convicted of murdering his summer camp roommate. Around the time Writing to Save a Life was published, Jacob was released from prison after serving thirty years of his sentence. The decision came on Election Day. “It kind of put all the other news in perspective,” Wideman said.

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