❝ [We have] an increasingly adversarial relationship between Defense Secretary James Mattis’ Cabinet department and the reporters who cover it. Chief among the complaints, according to defense reporters who spoke to POLITICO, are declining access to Mattis and other military officials, as well as a sense that reporters are not receiving the information they need to keep the public informed about America’s military activities.
Mattis has not briefed reporters on-camera in the Pentagon since April, while his chief spokesperson, Dana White, has not done so since May.
❝ Kevin Baron, the executive editor of Defense One, said Trump’s simultaneous war on the press and hyperfocus on media have combined to fundamentally change interactions inside the Pentagon.
“It’s definitely like no time that I’ve ever seen, and this is my 10th year on the Pentagon beat,” he said. “We used to have the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs side by side in briefing room at least once a month, and if we didn’t get once a month, we complained. We’re so far beyond the way things used to be, and it’s all because of Trump.”
“In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” Hugo Black, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1971.