The national media’s coverage of the great arraignment of former President Donald Trump was something I followed with considerable curiosity, given my profession. Several of the rulings didn’t sit well with me as a citizen.
Many people have asked me what we plan to do with the anticipated police booking picture of Trump after I wrote last week about deleting the photograph of Walter Cole, also known as Darcelle, from OregonLive.
“Good precursor to the coming week. So, how will you decide on the expected mug shot of President Trump? I can’t wait to hear the justification for this one. I’ll be waiting,” one reader wrote.
So that you know, it’s against the law in Oregon to make mugshots public. The Oregonian/OregonLive, meanwhile, had already established a policy of seldom publishing mugshots before the legislature imposed its current restrictions.
One of those circumstances was when the mugshot was inherently newsworthy. My response: “If New York releases the mugshot (far from certain), I suspect every paper in America will publish it. As I said when we announced our new practice with mugshots, we will still publish ‘when the mugshot itself is the story.’ That is undeniably true when a former president is booked on criminal charges.”
It turns out that New York seldom publishes booking images, and Trump was spared one. Another reader said there was some prejudice in OregonLive’s prompt reporting of Trump’s indictment since we prefer President Joe Biden.
I tell people who are confused that we do not cover national news that X, Y, or Z did not happen here since we focus on local news mainly. We publish national and international information when we can and when the report calls for it.
“Amazing quick Oregon live coverage of ‘national news’ normally ignored. (Unless good for Biden, bad for GOP),” the reader wrote. As I said, indicating a former president is not the ordinary course of events. It seems dishonest to me to suggest that the lightning-fast dissemination of such groundbreaking news was motivated by prejudice.
In a similar vein, it’s an essential news item. I always make sure to remind people that local stories are given priority on the main page. We aim to provide content that readers won’t find elsewhere. That’s how we’d want to proceed.
Readers expect The Oregonian to provide them with the day’s top stories, though. We also offer top billing to national and international news stories that warrant attention. Intriguingly, the media’s coverage of Trump included a staged picture opportunity inside the courtroom.
When Trump entered, the court only allowed five media outlets to capture still images. Then, he ordered the photographers out of the courtroom before the arraignment and told the media who stayed to put their electronic equipment outside.
Consequently, there were no dependable means for the public to learn what was happening until it was finished. It is very improbable to have occurred in Oregon. We have permitted almost all court hearings to be recorded by still and video cameras for quite some time. A court would need to make findings of fact for the record to prevent such coverage.
With the court’s approval, journalists can use electronic communication tools like email and Twitter inside the courtroom. The final coverage aspect that grabbed my attention was how the networks decided to edit out Trump’s initial live statements following his arraignment. The networks paused to retract incorrect ABC, CBS, and NBC claims.
According to the New York Times, Lester Holt, host of “NBC Nightly News,” remarked, “We have to interrupt here because the president made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting. “There has been no evidence of that.”
Television reporters have long pondered the challenge of accurately reporting Trump’s misleading claims. As CNN aired his comments longer, they countered his false statements with banners across the screen.
Although OregonLive does provide live-streaming capabilities, our primary focus is on written journalism. Because of this, we have the luxury of time to consider what should carefully and should not be included in the piece. We can quickly and easily verify any false claims that are made.
Nowadays, the items we read on wire services for international and national news seldom include many contexts and only summarize what was stated. The Washington Post noted that Trump’s address on Monday night was full of angry outbursts. A trite “Much of Trump’s claims regarding the case were not factually substantiated” was tacked on at the end.
If you’re interested in reading more Trump-related content. Indeed, we have discussed several major recent events. See the reference below-
- Is There Enough Evidence to Indict Trump? Political Scientists Views
- Some Wyoming Republicans Want to Restrict Trump’s Secretary of State
Networks are likely keeping tabs on the libel case against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems and weighing the risks and benefits of making unsubstantiated claims.
As a citizen, I find the whole situation upsetting because I think there must be a better method to achieve both goals: informing the public with accurate details about a pivotal time in history while preventing the spread of misinformation.
CNN got close, but it finally broke away from the speech like everyone else. The tension is palpable. Yet, our first and foremost responsibility is.
1 thought on “Editor’s Letter: Media Scurry to Report Extraordinary Trump News”
Just so you know, anyone in Oregon can look at mug shots. Public record in Oregon.