Speed Reads

trump vs the media

Is the Trump White House elaborately trolling reporters?

At what point does regular old incompetence become an elaborate troll game? Perplexed and frustrated White House correspondents are attempting to define that surprisingly fine line. While tradition and journalistic reliability have for years dictated which organizations can ask questions at White House press briefings, the Trump administration has opened the floodgates by inviting right-wing bloggers and other Trump-friendly outlets, such as the one run by 19-year-old Kyle Mazza, the sole reporter of UNF News, which "owns no bandwidth on TV or radio," The New Yorker reports.

While some reporters said they appreciate the mix of geographic and ideological diversity that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has introduced to the room, Sirius XM's Jared Rizzi added: "I don't appreciate diversity of journalistic practice."

“There's an adjustment period with any new administration," explained a producer from a foreign news service to The New Yorker. “But with this one it can be hard to tell what's just incompetence and what's them intentionally messing with us.”

The trolling theory is widespread — a TV correspondent told The New Yorker that the Trump administration is throwing the predictability of the briefings into an orchestrated "chaos."

"'Maybe you'll get a question, if you shout loud enough, who knows?' — makes everyone desperate and competitive and makes us look like a bunch of braying jackals," the correspondent said, "which I don't think is an accident.”

Read more about how the Trump White House is shaking up press briefings at The New Yorker.