by Sophie Nikolenko and Michelle Jares
@sophienikolenko and @MichMeganJ
Marlin Fitzwater, former Press Secretary to President Reagan and H.W. Bush, hesitantly pledged his vote to Trump during an interview with Trent Spiner, Executive Editor for the Union Leader.
Fitzwater was reluctant to speak about this upcoming election. “I will not be actively involved with politics,” he said.
Fitzwater noted that a secret ballot does not exist today as it once did. But Spiner pressed on, and Fitzwater expressed that he will continue to support the Republican party regardless of the candidate, and admitted he will vote for Trump in November.
The Presidency and the Press, a conference for high school students at Franklin Pierce University attended the live interview, which was filmed by the political cable network C-SPAN.
Spiner’s questions spanned multiple generations, from Fitzwater’s time serving as Press Secretary to his opinion of today’s youth and the growing role of social media in the political process.
Covering politics has dramatically changed since Fitzwater’s time serving in the White House. “Younger people today are better, smarter, faster, and more capable,” he said. He explained to his audience that social media has transformed the way news stories are told. To be successful, journalists today have to always be on their toes.
Fitzwater is surprised at the rate in which news is reported today. The twenty-four hour news cycle further displays its increasing fast-paced nature. With the continuous flood of reporting today, it is crucial for the media to actively gain viewers. Spiner quoted Fitzwater who claimed that the media acts as a “pack of wolves.”
Consumers of the media have differing opinions. Fitzwater explains consumers often claim a media source is wrong when they report on a topic that conflicts with their views. This leaves America skeptical of what the press publishes and contributes to the division of the country as a whole.
During his time as Press Secretary, Fitzwater observed a more cordial relationship between candidates. He was told by President George H.W. Bush to “never say a critical word about Hillary or Bill Clinton.” Fitzwater always held respect for any candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
Politicians and the press used to have a very respectful relationship. There were unspoken rules of how to represent a political leader. Marlin noted that this all changed during the Clinton scandal because the press took full advantage of this story sparking distrust between politicians and the press.
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