Second, journalists need to understand what Trump is doing and refuse to play by his rules. He is going to use the respect and deference typically accorded to the presidency as an instrument for spreading more lies. Reporters must refuse to treat him like a normal president and refuse to bestow any unearned legitimacy on his administration. They must also give up their posture of high-minded objectivity — and, along with it, any hope of privileged access to the Trump White House. The incoming president has made clear that he expects unquestioning obedience from the press, and will regard anyone who doesn’t give it to him as an enemy. That is the choice every news outlet faces for the next four years: Subservience and complicity, or open hostility. There is no middle ground.
Many of the stories promulgated by Trump, Bannon, and their allies — such as Trump’s claim that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the Kennedy assassination — were obviously false and easily debunked. But the sheer volume of these stories had their intended effect. When fake news becomes omnipresent, all news becomes suspect. Everything starts to look like a lie.