Legendary journalist Dan Rather joined Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Thursday, where he addressed Donald Trump’s tumultuous relationship with the media. Trump has repeatedly referred to media outlets and journalists as liars and fake news, most notably CNN. Rather said that neither he nor anybody else has ever seen a president handle the media like Trump. But there was one president who came to mind, and it didn’t end well for him.
“The closest we’ve had was during the presidency of Richard Nixon. But even then, the president himself did not so often, so openly, and so personally assault and attack not just the press as an institution, but individual press members as well,” Rather said.
Rather also advised members of the media tasked with covering the White House to be steady and respectful, but also relentless and aggressive. He also said that the press’s role as part of the systems of checks and balances is to ask tough questions and do investigative journalism. That point of view of the press’s role is not shared by Trump’s chief adviser, Steve Bannon. Rather had an answer for that.
Rather said, “His principal adviser, Mr. Steve Bannon, recently said, almost directly, the press needs to shut up. Well, our answer to that has to be, ‘With respect, sir, no. We’re not going to shut up. Now answer the damn question.’”
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