Posted in Journalist, politics, TV News

How TV journalists were played by Trump and failed journalism and the public

TV journalists meet with Trump

A good journalist does not allow anyone to set the ground rules for an interview or meeting. And we do our best to avoid “off-the-record” conversations.

Our job as reporters is to get the facts and share them with the public. You can’t do that if you agree to go “off-the-record” which means you can’t share anything you talked about during that discussion.


On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump had his way with some of the best TV journalists and their bosses. They were suckered into a meeting where they became his punching bags.

I watched on a live feed as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett,  NBC’s Lester Holt, CBS’s Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos arrived to Trump Tower. According to the New York Post the meeting turned into a Trump tirade. He was finally facing the people he called “scum and liars” on the campaign trail. He took the opportunity on his turf to let them know what he thought of them and according to sources it was ugly.

I am disappointed they agreed to have an “off-the-record” meeting with the President-elect.  What were they thinking? What happened to digging for the truth, standing up for journalism, and not taking his abuse anymore. 

All these high-profile TV news anchors, reporters and managers missed a big opportunity to stand together as journalists and tell Mr. Trump that we won’t be humiliated, berated, intimidated, or bullied for doing our jobs. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe one of the TV anchors or reporters was brave enough to speak up for journalists in that meeting, but I guess we’ll never know since it was “off the record.”

Donald Trump played the media. Here’s hoping those high-profile TV news anchors and reporters don’t get suckered by him again in the future.


Here’s a video worth watching.

Washington Post media columnists Erik Wemple and Margaret Sullivan talk about the meeting between the TV journalists and Trump, and how the broadcasters and their bosses should have known better.


Posted in TV News

Leave the props at home, how handcuffs didn’t work for WFMY-TV

In the world of TV news, producers are always trying to come up with creative ways to keep the audience interested. Someone at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, NC thought talking about the polls, and having the news anchor hold a pair of handcuffs would be a great idea.

Screenshot: WFMY-TV 

Well today WFMY-TV continues to feel the backlash of that creative moment that didn’t sit well with Hillary Clinton supporters.

As FTV Live  reported Morgan Hightower was reading a story on the political race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when she grabbed a pair of handcuffs. As she starts talking about Clinton, the viewer suddenly saw a tight shot of those cuffs.

The news anchor Morgan Hightower explained it like this on Facebook.


Station management also had a response: 

“Last week, our newscast aired a brief story on the deadlock closeness of the Presidential polls in North Carolina using handcuffs as a prop. We commonly use props and visual comparisons in storytelling. In response to a Huffington Post article about our report, it appears social media has separated the words of our story from our pictures and the storytelling intent.

Our story was not about – and made no reference to – any investigation, criminality or possible prosecution of either Presidential candidate. It was a story about the neck and neck closeness of the candidates in current polling – the prop meant to denote the discomfort of these bitter rivals locked side by side in the polls. We should have better explained, more so, used a better prop. We regret the confusion. “




Our job is to report the news, not to be actors and actresses with props. In the race to be creative, don’t get lost in doing something that can backfire.

If you’re a producer, anchor or reporter run your idea by several people before you go live. Get feedback from different people.

If I was in that planning meeting I would have said “It’s not going to work. Haven’t you heard Trump supporters chant ‘lock her up?'”

The WFMY segment was an epic fail but the rest of us can learn from it.

Leave the props at home.