"Normalisation" is the new buzzword in post-election American journalism. It describes the attempt by some voices in the US media to soften criticism of Donald Trump following his election victory.
Trump's troublesome relationship with the mainstream media leads some to believe that this new tool is essentially a self-serving media push to ensure access to the Trump White House. Others feel this softening of media criticism is designed to give the president-elect a chance.
Most of what we read isn't really journalism, it's editorialising.
Journalists need access to be in the know - and many are willing to play the game to get that access. Whether it is a front-row seat in the White House briefing room or being on the right email list when a story is leaked, this is where normalisation comes into play in order for journalists to get the presidential scoop.
Normalisation can take many forms, including conducting softball interviews, writing a favourable piece here and there, setting aside some unsavoury comments about women, Muslims, and Mexicans - that is a price some journalists are willing to pay.
"I've studied authoritarian regimes for most of my career and what you are seeing right now is the normalisation of an authoritarian leader. You're seeing a compliant media, you're seeing a complicit media. And you're seeing a media that seems very afraid," says Sarah Kendzior, author of The View from Flyover Country.
However, many reporters are already concerned that they may not get the kind of access to the Trump White House that they've had under previous administrations, due to coverage battles during the election campaigns. The mainstream media has not been kind to Trump, and he has not treated them favourably in return.
On the flipside of that fear are concerns about transparency from the Trump camp and what is actually revealed to the media.
"You have to say to yourself, what do you do with access, you know, in a state that doesn't want you to tell the truth? What does it mean to have access? And I think that if reporters have access, it will be to do the sort of puff pieces that we've already seen in People and in 60 Minutes, the ones that are normalising this, the ones that are trying to assure Americans that everything is normal," says Kendzior.
Talking us through the story are: Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief, The Huffington Post; John Doyle, TV critic, The Globe and Mail; Mike Cernovich, author and filmmaker; Sarah Kendzior, the author of The View From Flyover Country; and Kurt Bardella, president, Endeavor Strategies and former spokesman, Breitbart.
Source: Al Jazeera