Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.


Donald Trump’s media criticisms and provocative tweets push journalists to explore different coverage

Find something Trump says or tweets this week and share your reaction.
Closely examine a few news articles and headlines about the incoming president. Do any words or descriptions (not in quotes) support his claim of bias?
Look for an editorial, opinion column or reader letter about the president-elect and share an excerpt.

The Republican who moves into the White House on Jan. 20 has a distinctly different style of public communication and media relations than earlier presidents. Donald Trump continues tweeting his views frankly and frequently, including swipes at critics (including "Saturday Night Live") and at news media coverage. A stir arose last week when he a tweeted a suggestion "there must be consequences" for flag-burning – "perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!" Other post-election comments, particularly a tweet claiming “millions of people . . . voted illegally," provoke discussion among journalists about how – or whether – to share his unsupported claims.

The New York Times framed the issue last week: "Should news outlets, as some readers argue, ignore clearly untrue tweets, rather than amplify falsehoods further?" At Politico, a popular news site based near Washington, D.C., editor Carrie Brown says: "This is the way he's communicating with millions upon millions of people, and as journalists we can’t ignore that." An opposite view comes from New York historian Fred Kaplan, a presidential biographer: "It's time to ignore his tweets."

The political newcomer met in late November with network TV executives and anchors at Trump Tower in Manhattan (video below), where he reportedly rebuked them for "outrageous" and "dishonest" coverage of his candidacy. He was more restrained a week later at The New York Times, which he had attacked repeatedly during the campaign. Presidents' relations with those covering them are often strained, but media experts say Trump's blasts against reporters — the "lowest form of humanity," he said at rallies — are something else. Cristianne Amanpour, who has reported extensively from Europe and the Middle East for CNN, says Trump's language is worryingly similar to that of non-democratic leaders in lands where journalists are routinely demonized and even jailed.

At The Washington Post, media columnist Margaret Sullivan writes last week that America's incoming leader "requires vastly different coverage." She adds: "Trump's use of the mainstream media as his favorite punching bag is only going to increase. That means that his most fervent followers are going to hate traditional journalists, especially those from outlets in New York City and Washington. . . . But the journalistic mission — holding the powerful accountable — remains crucially important. Maybe more than ever."

Trump aide says: "President-elect Trump has amassed an incredible social media following, one he used very effectively throughout the campaign to communicate his message. He intends to continue utilizing this modern form of communication, while taking into account that his new role and responsibilities may call for modified usage." – Hope Hicks, spokeswoman

CNN reporter says: "I never thought I would be up on stage appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home." – Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, after New York speech to the Committee to Protect Journalists

Blogger says: "Reporters have never been popular, and reporters will have to face our fate that we're going to be less popular over the next four years." – Jack Shafer, media columnist at

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2017
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Rifle fire at U.S. House baseball practice: Gun debate suddenly is more personal for Congress

Not Harvard-worthy after all: Social media missteps are costly for at least 10 high school grads

U.S. pullout undercuts global climate agreement aimed at protecting planet

History and healing: Civil War generals come off their pedestals in the South

Department stores and malls may be an endangered species as more of us shop online

Trump dismissal of FBI director James Comey will have long-lasting political and maybe legal fallout

‘Smart driving’ apps keep new motorists safety-conscious and keep parents more at ease

Symbolic benchmark: President Trump and others look at his first 100 days in office

Bleached-out coral, a climate change sign, alarms scientists for a second straight year

Reusable rockets save money and are likely to open a new era in space

Complete archive