When you visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem, you can see up close why it is considered the holiest place for prayer by the Jewish people. I was there last week during a journalism fellowship with Fuenta Latina, a nonprofit that educates reporters about Israel today.
Every year, millions of Jews from all over the world visit the wall to pray. Tourists who are non-Jews also visit the wall to pay their respects. Men and women pray in separate sections.
Next week when President Donald Trump goes to Israel he will make a stop at the Western Wall. He will be the first U.S. sitting President to do so. Other presidents have visited the sacred wall but as private citizens.
People in Jerusalem I talked to are curious to learn more about the billionaire turn reality star turn U.S. President. From hotel clerks to taxi drivers they told me they look forward to Trump’s visit to Israel. but wonder if he will create more chaos than peace.
Trump is already getting bad press in Israel because it appears he has snubbed Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli TV Channel 2 is reporting that Trump’s delegation has not only turned down Netanyahu’s request to go with Trump to the wall but also someone from the delegation insulted Israeli officials claiming the wall was not Israeli Territory.
Tuesday National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster at a White House briefing confirmed “No Israeli leaders will join President Trump at the Western Wall.” McMaster would not confirm or deny whether Trump believed the Western Wall was not Israeli territory when asked by reporters.
The wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Israelis seized the Western Wall in the Old City from the Jordanians, along with East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, and it is not officially recognized internationally as Israeli territory.
Rebecca Aguilar is an award-winning freelance reporter with 35 years experience. She was part of the May 2017 Fuenta Latina Fellowship to Israel.
The Dallas Mega March did not draw the 100-thousand people that organizers expected, but the ones who did show up were just as passionate as the ones in 2006. That’s when 500,000 marchers took to the streets of Dallas.
Ashley of Sherman, Texas was at the rally in front of Dallas City Hall with a sign that read “Got White Privilege?” She thought it was important to take her little boy to the Mega March on Sunday, because she said it was history.
Thousands at the rally waved signs, some read “Will trade racists for refugees” and “Keep hope alive.” Dallas police estimated around 32-hundred people marched on Sunday.
I did a Facebook Live while I was there and walked through the crowd. People of different backgrounds, ages, and religions were there to show their support.
There’s nothing like getting a reality check from Jon Stewart. The former host of The Daily Show popped up from under the desk Monday night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
And as usual he didn’t hold back. This time he zeroed in on Donald Trump and the press. Roll the video…
Donald Trump is abusing his power again.
Trump staff blocked CNN, New York Times, LA Times, BuzzFeed News and Politico from White House briefing today. These news outlets have been breaking big stories involving the President and he doesn’t like it.
— CNN (@CNN) February 24, 2017
According to the New York Times reporters from the Associated Press and Time magazine who were allowed into the briefing but decided not to attend in protest. The off-camera briefing took place in Sean Spicer’s office.
Fox News anchor Brett Baier also gave his opinion on Twitter. He recalled when Obama administration attacked and attempted to ban Fox News from briefings. Guess who stood up for them?
Some at CNN & NYT stood w/FOX News when the Obama admin attacked us & tried 2 exclude us-a WH gaggle should be open to all credentialed orgs https://t.co/8Vjcs0KCPR
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) February 24, 2017
Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary talked to CNN about the press being banned “Press secretaries should meet with all press because it is unwise and counterproductive to do. Your relationship and obligation is to all media.” Fleischer believes the block was not a threat to the First Amendment.
STAND TOGETHER PRESS
We should be speaking up as journalists and go straight to them on Twitter: Trump, Spicer and Preibus. Also journalism organizations should be very vocal on this issue and stop this from happening again.
We have a job to do, and should not be bullied, intimidated or blocked from getting to the truth.
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.
TRUMP HAD HIS WAY WITH TV JOURNALISTS
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.
MORE ON TV JOURNALISTS AND TRUMP
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.
We start our day with President-elect Donald Trump. For those who supported him. Congratulations. For those who did not, wipe off those tears and remember your rights as Americans still exist.
But this is now a very divided country. We know that. It will be Trump’s job to figure out a way to bring all Americans together. As people of color there is a fear. Do we regress to what we had in the 1950’s or will Donald Trump figure out a way to unite us?
As women we also have our fears. Do we lose our rights to stand on an equal platform or do men feel a win for Trump means a pass to grope us when they want? Yes, that’s a valid concern after hearing the Access Hollywood tape.
LET FEAR FUEL YOUR PASSION TO DO THE RIGHT THING
But now is not the time to allow fear to hold you back. Use that fear to fuel your passion to do what is right for this country. One man, one political party, one election does not take away our voice, our strength, our power as Americans.
It hasn’t been easy for journalists either, but we still have a job to do. Learn from the journalists who covered the Trump campaign. Often they endured verbal attacks from Trump and his supporters but kept pushing forward, seeking the facts. We need to continue asking the tough questions of our President-elect as we have done with past individuals voted into office.
Donald Trump has four years to prove himself and keep those promises he made to his supporters. The clock starts now.