Don't Meet the Press
The Trump administration's Department of Defense (DoD) has become increasingly inaccessible to journalists, Politico reports, citing interviews with unnamed "numerous reporters who cover the beat." As one such source summarized, "This is the worst relationship I've seen" between the Pentagon and the media in recent years, even considering the Obama administration's poor record on press freedom.
The decline in transparency Politico describes chiefly takes two forms: Secretary of Defense James Mattis offers limited press availability, and the Pentagon has cut down on the number of reporters permitted to join official trips. For example, a recent journey Mattis took excluded the correspondent from Reuters, which traditionally would have had a representative present alongside those from the other two wire services, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. This exclusion "breaks with decades of standing practice," Reuters said.
The shift in Pentagon-press relations is significantly attributable to Mattis' perception that "the media is trying to pit him against the president and deliberately misinterpret the things that he says," an unnamed Trump administration official told Politico. Mattis has reportedly decided less contact with journalists will make it easier to control his messaging.