Dear Dean Baquet:
President Trump has embraced whole hog that favorite American pastime of blaming the media. He says “the media elites” are biased and dishonest. He says he will handpick the reporters who get the privilege of closer access to the White House.
The editors and reporters at The New York Times are very smart, dedicated people. Perhaps they don’t need any advice. I am going to offer some anyway.
Don’t play by his rules. Trump likes to flood the field with lies, and part of his long game is to discredit all the bastions of truth and credibility. Teachers, scientists and journalists and writers will be in his crosshairs. Keep fairly, accurately, thoroughly – and aggressively – covering his administration. Avoid sloppy work, fact errors and gotcha zingers. Develop sources, but avoid an overreliance on unnamed sources. The Trump White House is not going to be one big happy camp. Egos are gonna clash, and things, I suspect, are gonna get nasty internally. People are going grouse. Your reporters will have to sift out all the motives and agendas, of course. Also, follow the cash piles and the public documents, and put things in perspective.
Dig, dig, dig. It’s a huge potato mound. It is your duty to uncover the tubers. You will face immense pushback from the apex of power. But you have been here before, and you stuck to your guns. Because you did, the United States is a better place.