By JEFFREY NICHOLS By | FEBRUARY 13, 2018 04:19:30By John Nichols | The Wall St. JournalA New York Times columnist is warning that the Trump administration could end up with a bigger problem than fake news.
The problem with the new administration is the same one that existed under former President Donald Trump: The media doesn’t take his lies seriously, writes columnist Jill Abramson in The Wall of Her Own, a new memoir she co-authored with husband Aaron Abramson.
Abramson wrote about her husband’s decision to resign as the Times columnist, after a year-long affair with the paper’s managing editor.
The Abramsons wrote that Abramson found herself struggling with the issue after Trump fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was responsible for the “fake news” issue.
“The White House, after Bannon’s departure, seemed to be in a kind of limbo.
The president was not the president anymore.
And no one had any idea how to deal with the news media.
But there was a very real risk that this new White House might have a more difficult time than the previous one dealing with its own dysfunction,” Abramson writes.”
It would be a mistake to dismiss the threat of fake news, but it is also a serious threat.”
The Abramdsons say they were particularly concerned about the media’s coverage of the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, whose handling of the Russia probe and his decision to hold a news conference with his former national security adviser Michael Flynn in January was a source of concern to them.
The couple says that when the Abramdsens were asked by the Times why they did not take a more aggressive stance in reporting on the firing, they told them they would have done so if they had known it was happening.
Abramsons memoir comes after her book The Way Forward, released earlier this year, was one of the most-discussed books of the year.
She spoke to the Times in a wide-ranging interview, describing the challenges she and her husband faced during the campaign and after it.
In The Way Ahead, Abramson told the Times she and Aaron felt their marriage was damaged by the election and the media attention it generated.
“We felt we were the targets of an attack,” she said.
“It was an attack on our dignity and our sanity.”
The couple say they never felt like they had to answer for their decision to publish The Way Forth.
“What we were trying to do was to tell the truth and make sure that people knew that we were in this together,” Abramsons husband, Aaron, told Abramson last year.
“We didn’t want anyone to believe that we could have done anything else.”
The Times and others have come under fire for their failure to take Trump’s claims seriously, including for its inaccurate reporting on his assertion that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
The administration is also under pressure to address the media.
Abrakson’s book is one of a handful of books that include personal accounts of the Abramson family’s lives.
It comes amid heightened scrutiny about how media outlets are treated by the Trump White House.
Last month, The Washington Post published a series of interviews with three former aides to the administration who say they felt pressured by the White House to lie to the paper, including former press secretary Sean Spicer, who repeatedly claimed in a series a story about Trump’s inauguration that “fake” news stories were spreading.
In Abramson’s book, the Abramsts talk about how they came to have an intense dislike for the White Trump administration and a desire to expose it.
“They had no respect for their own media colleagues, no respect at all for the news industry,” Abramsey wrote in the book.
“They had contempt for the government that they loved.”