The backbone of any democracy is an independent and responsible media. In order to maintain its credibility, the media must be viewed as presenting the facts accurately.

Real news does not come in a fair and balanced package.

It is not the job of the media to make the actions of people seem fair or make excuses for the people they report on.

The news should be reported exactly as it happened.  No more, no less.  As Joe Friday used to say, “just the facts, ma’am”.

While it is annoying that the questions asked by some broadcast journalists are redundant and irrelevant, that is still their job.  It is widely accepted practice to question politicians and world leaders.  Reporters represent the public and their right to know about the actions of elected officials.

There seems to be a pattern developing in recent press conferences being conducted by President Trump.

It is becoming more obvious that he has issues with female reporters asking him tough questions or questioning his responses.

He has a habit of dismissing female reporters’ questions by focusing on their tone or attitude.  He has called the women’s questions “nasty” and “horrid” for ones he does not like.  If he is not calling them names, he is insulting their intelligence.

On Monday, he totally dismissed a female reporter, refusing to let her ask her questions and almost scolded her like a child.

Lots of male reporters press him with unpopular questions, but his reactions are noticeably different.

Last week, he clarified the reason for his animosity toward female reporters

He singled out two CBS news journalists for reportedly irritating him with their questions.  In describing his interaction with them, he said it “wasn’t like dealing with Donna Reed.”

For those who might have forgotten, Donna Reed was an actress who played a fictional middle- class stay-at-home wife and mother.  She wore high heels, pearls and dresses to do her housework.

Apparently, Trump has a stereotypical idea that all women should be soft-spoken, cooperative and helpful.

 There are already deeply entrenched prejudices and biases that pose challenges to female journalists.

There are more women in media than ever before, yet it is still a male dominated industry.

Journalism has its roots in the fight for truth.  No where does it say only men can join the fight.

The use of gender stereotypes that only portrays women as family caregivers or obedient airheads affects the public’s perception of reality.

 For a sitting president to make such a comparison is inappropriate and demeaning.

This type of rhetoric started years ago.

In 1829 newspaper editor, Anne Royall, was charged and convicted of being a “disturber of the peace and happiness of her quiet and honest neighbors.”

White House press secretary James Hagerty tried to revoke the press credentials of Ethel Payne in 1954 after she pushed President Eisenhower on segregation and racial equality.

I hate to burst the bubble for Mr. Trump but there are a few things he should know about Donna Reed.

In real life Reed was married and divorced three times.  During the Vietnam War she worried her oldest son would get drafted, so she became an anti-war activist.  She was well known in Hollywood as a troublemaker because she called directors incompetent when she believed they did not respect women.

She also spent a year playing the mother of television villain, J R Ewing and played a hooker in the film, ‘From Here to Eternity.’

She was simply an actress, playing a role created for her.

Women are no longer bound by antiquated stereotypes and continue to break barriers.

 It is even happening right here in Alabama. For the first time ever, the Jefferson County Swat Team has two female members.  Not many women attempt to qualify and even fewer make the male dominated elite squad.   I wonder if Donna would approve of that.

It appears Trump has lots of issues with reporters in general.  He obviously cannot stand to be criticized or questioned by anyone and gets especially hyper -sensitive when women stand up to him.

These women reporters were asking completely legitimate questions. 

The President of the United States should be asked difficult questions and he should have to answer them.

These female journalists will not be fazed by the president’s adolescent behavior and will continue to do their job.  Such shenanigans go with the territory.  Reporting on it will not make him change, but his actions make it part of the story because it is factual.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “when the speech condemns a free press, you are hearing the words of a tyrant.”

Well, it sure looks like we are not dealing with Thomas Jefferson here.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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