Arguing on the internet is oftentimes about as useful as peeing against the wind. Sure, you might really need to get it out, but it almost always ends up spraying back in your face.
People's opinions rarely change no matter how much evidence you bring to them. No matter how many good points you make, no matter how many other issues you present that are way more important to focus on than the inconsequential, often sensationalized issues they choose to focus on - you won't change someone's mind on the internet.
Oftentimes, merely criticizing someone's point or questioning them will have them cry "persecution" and that you're being unfair to them. It's a trait tons of dictatorial regimes have utilized in discrediting media agencies for catching them in lies and exposing the weak points in their propaganda.
Trump's popularized the term "fake news" and used it as a blanket statement to try and discredit any news agency that questions and disproves many of the President's erroneous claims.
The divisive nature of Trump's election has left people with very strong opinions on how the press should treat him. However, the objective of traditional press has always been to provide factual evidence and question individuals on the facts. The media in America was expected to be a watchdog of the government to keep our elected officials honest, since the earliest days of our democracy.
Washington Star correspondent Daniel Dale offered an interesting take on the role journalists should take when interviewing Donald Trump and politicians like him who constantly lie in a manner that doesn't destroy the entire q & a.
Very respectfully, I don’t think it’s a choice between “let Trump say anything he wants” and “play prosecutor and interrupt constantly.” Interviewers can - and do all the time - politely challenge wildly false claims without derailing the whole interview. https://t.co/RGSvohQbRd— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
Dale stresses professionalism and politeness.
You don’t have to be angry about it or mean about it. Just politely interject and ask for evidence here and there, or politely tell him he’s wrong on this and that point. I think we’re well past the point where his unfiltered, uncorrected ramble-boasts have much value.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
It's much more powerful to allow a lying politician, President or not, acknowledge their lie in a follow up answer and just carry on with the interview.
To Maggie’s point, we’ve actually seen interviewers breezily tell Trump he’s wrong without derailing interviews. A Forbes interview comes to mind. He just accepts his wrongness - because he knows he’s lying - and quickly amends his point. It works.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
I’d also say that the post-interview handling of the lies is as important as the interview. Of course it’s hard to correct the serial-lying president as he rapidly rambles. But are they then called false in the *actual article* or just printed without context?— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
He also highlighted the difference between interview and print lies.
I think the articles are less defensible than the interviews. Print interviewers don’t have to challenge every lie in the moment, because they have the last word in print. But that last word is frequently not being used; lies are being rushed out as quotes without challenge.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
It's all about maintaining composure.
He stressed that basic questioning is a journalist's job, there's nothing "gotcha" about it.
In short: 1) Respectfully challenging is a basic tenet of interviewing; 2) I don't think this should change for Trump; 3) I don't think there's evidence that doing so derails an interview; 4) Even if it gets derailed, I don't think there's a ton of current value in Trump rambles.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
Agree with Tom here. Are we really going to argue that Trump should not be politely challenged at all because he's sensitive? If that's going to make him storm away - I don't think it will - who cares? That's on him. Interviews should remain interviews. https://t.co/A6CrbLvo7S— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
Ultimately, Dale just wanted to highlight the correct way to interview someone like Trump who has a penchant for making wild claims without evidence in his q & a's.
I'm gonna say finally that the NYT's Schmidt is a fantastic reporter who breaks big important stuff, and that an impromptu Trump sit-down is a tough spot to be in. Not at all personal - this has just been happening for 2.5 years now, and I think we all can do better.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 29, 2017
Some people responded to the thread by pointing out some of the worst lies Trump's told in his interviews.
And how journalists let him get away with it.
Do you feel like the media needs to be tougher on Trump? Or is it a losing battle at this point?