Rudy Giuliani, a prominent Donald Trump ally, said
last week, "It is refreshing and it is very good for our democracy that we have a president that is trying to get us back to a free press." The use of the word "back" suggests, in Trump World, we don't have a free press now, but the incoming administration has some changes in mind to improve matters.
It's the nature of these changes, of course, that matter.
Over the weekend, for example, the president-elect published
an all-caps message calling the now-infamous Russia/Trump dossier "a complete fraud." Trump's source? A report from One America News Network -- a new Fox News rival that hired
Corey Lewandowski two days earlier.
Also last week, at his first press conference since he publicly urged Russia to launch a cyber-attack against his Democratic opponent, Trump shut down a CNN reporter -- he described the network "fake news" -- and instead called on
someone from Breitbart News, a right-wing website that enjoyed a front-row seat.
It's a new day for the political press.
To be sure, this isn't completely
without precedent. Exactly 12 years ago this week, then-President George W. Bush called on
someone from an outlet called "Talon News," whose controversial correspondent, Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, asked in reference to Democrats, "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
But what's less clear now is whether the Trump White House's approach to news organizations will be even worse. His team's approach to the press during the campaign was a mess -- it included blacklisting and "press pens" -- but Esquire
published a report
over the weekend that raised eyebrows further.
According to three senior officials on the transition team, a plan to evict the press corps from the White House is under serious consideration by the incoming Trump Administration. If the plan goes through, one of the officials said, the media will be removed from the cozy confines of the White House press room, where it has worked for several decades. Members of the press will be relocated to the White House Conference Center -- near Lafayette Square -- or to a space in the Old Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.
"There has been no decision," Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary, said about the plan today. But Spicer acknowledged that "there has been some discussion about how to do it."