The more muddled the situation, the more important it is to take a step back and not lose sight of what's important. On Wednesday, the President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, gave his first press conference in his capacity as leader. In a democracy, freedom of the press is something sacrosanct, and it is the journalist's role, as a representative of the people, to hold the people in power to account.
This is accomplished on the one hand through careful and thoughtful research, and on the other through dogged questioning, for example at a press conference.
This long-awaited press conference had already been delayed several times. In essence, it should have been about how the millionaire Trump will ensure that he will not use his presidential power to influence his business interests. This question is anything but trivial in the case of Trump, as it benefits him directly when, for example, politicians and lobbyists stay in hotels he owns.
Trump refused to answer a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta
Even in his international business dealings, many are worried that the future president will mix political and private goals; even if not directly, then perhaps inadvertently, since he will have information on things that may impact the future of the markets, giving him a clear advantage over competitors.
A metaphorical bomb was dropped on the eve of the press conference in the form of media reports, including one from CNN, claiming that Russian intelligence had information that could compromise the soon-to-be most powerful man in the world, both privately and financially. The information had already been reported to US security agencies, and now, just days before the inauguration, found its way to the public. Trump responded quickly, on Twitter as usual, calling the journalists liars and comparing the behavior of the spy agencies to the leaders of Nazi Germany.
That is quite a statement. And it reflects the strangeness American society now finds itself in.
Cooperation between top politicians and the press is inherently complicated. Their interests are often at odds. This was no different with Barack Obama. In recent history, no president has engaged with.....