Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said recent calls for the press to have an adversarial relationship with President-elect Donald Trump are proof they had gone "soft" on President Barack Obama the past eight years.
In an appearance Monday on Fox News Channel's "The First 100 Days," Fleischer told host Martha McCallum the press has refused to check facts on Obama as they now are vowing to do with Trump.
The coverage of Obama was "soft," he said, "Now, they want to change their tune. It should have been like this all along."
A Politico piece by Jack Shafer published Monday was headlined, "Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again: In his own way, Trump has set us free."
"Instead of relying exclusively on the traditional skills of political reporting, the carriers of press cards ought to start thinking of covering Trump's Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death," Shafer wrote.
The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin advised, if Trump "attacks or evades the question of another journalist. Ask the same question or a follow-up. Do not move on to another topic."
Fleischer, who served under President George W. Bush, said the media has brought its troubles on itself by playing favorites.
"A recent Gallup poll show that the trust in press reporting accurately and fairly is at an all-time low," he said. "The press has created a situation and made themselves vulnerable to whatever Donald Trump is going to do because they have lost the trust of the American people."
Still, Fleischer said, he does not favor the Trump administration moving daily press briefings out of the White House's West Wing.
"I'd have no problem with that as a short-term, temporary issue," he said. "There only 49 seats, as it currently stands" and the initial days will be "jam-packed," he said.
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