Its a sad indication of how impoverished my political education is, that I ‘know’ more about the workings of the West Wing of the White House through the TV programme of the same name than from any other source. In the run up to the inauguration of Donald Trump we began to watch the series once again just to act as a buffer from the real life situation that was unfolding, proving that fact can indeed be a great deal stranger than fiction. It is widely reported that some of Aaron Sorkins best episodes were written when he was high on cocaine, yet his mind could still not conjure up some of the scenario’s that Donald Trump has achieved in the last 6 weeks. The idea that the President and his Press Secretary would ban parts of the White House Press Corps en-bloc is being seen through some eyes as resonating with how Hitler treated the media. In my book that is nonsense. However it is clear that Trump has completely lost the plot, particularly as it is only 2 months since Trumps Press Secretary told a journalist called Jake Sherman who works for an agency called POLITICO: “There’s a big difference between a campaign where it is a private venue using private funds, and a government entity. We have a respect for the press when it comes to the government,” Spicer said, speaking of the incoming Trump administration. “That that is something that you can’t ban an entity from. You know, conservative, liberal, or otherwise, that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.” Like two little boys in the playground at the beginning of their first year in School, having got to know some of the other children and then heard them speaking in ways he didn’t appreciate, Donald and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer have decided to openly make fun of and now bar a number of these professionals from their White House including POLITICO, CNN, the BBC and the Guardian.
As CJ Cregg, Allison Janney did on occasions make fun of and even ‘discipline’ one or two members of the Press Corps, but she did it with mostly good humour and it was always a temporary thing. It is as if Sean Spicer has got locked into the episode when CJ passes over Danny inviting other journalists to enjoy one to one meetings with Jed Bartlett, and has overlooked the fact that this happened a long way into the relationship, when everyone had got the measure of CJ and her President. In fact this action is more reminiscent of the story when CJ has had root canal work and it is Josh Lyman who takes the Press Conference and gets himself and the President into a lot of trouble. If I was part of the Press Corps I would speak to my colleagues and organise a boycott of the press conferences. Clearly not all would walk out, but if there was a degree of standing together, perhaps Spicer would get the message. After all the reason that Presidents and their Press Secretaries have daily news conferences is so they can dominate the news cycle. I am certain that Allison Janney would not be willing to offer any advice to Mr Trump, but right now he really needs a Claudia Jean to help dig himself out of the mess he is getting into.