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Independent Media

This morning, on the Today Show, former President George W. Bush discussed the press and what role they play in a democracy.

Early on in the exclusive sit-down, the former president expressed a clear-eyed support for the news media, saying a free press was “indispensable to democracy.”

“We need an independent media to hold people like me to account,” Bush told TODAY’S Matt Lauer.

“Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”

A lot of people are saying this was a swipe at President Donald Trump.  It could have been, but it also could have been perfectly in line with Trump’s thinking on this issue.  I am no fan of Donald Trump and his media criticism has been far too hyperbolic.  However, the crux of Trump’s argument is not that the press is writing negative stories about him.  His main argument is they are not writing fair stories.  There certainly is a disagreement on what constitutes a fair story and there is little doubt that Trump’s administration, despite his best attempts, has not been running like a well-oiled machine that he claims it is.  Currently, it consists of some bad ideas with even worse executions.  However, many of his initial mistakes are also similar to the ones President Barack Obama and other presidents have made.  The press, however, did not feel the need to cover those screw ups with the same tenacity.

Some might believe my assessment is biased.  “The press is being just as fair as they were with Obama, stop your whining!”  It seems, according to the latest WSJ/NBC News polls,  the America people disagree…

A majority of Americans believe news organizations are too critical of President Trump, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday.

Fifty-one percent of Americans said the media is too critical of Trump, while 41 percent think news organizations have been fair and objective.

Many are going to take President Bush’s comments as an attack on Trump.  I believe that is a mistake.  He was extolling the virtues and importance of a fair and open press pool.  If only we had that option today to see if he was right…

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