Trump’s Approach To The Press

Chrysta Castañeda was recently features on WILS 1320 talk radio discussing Donald Trump’s approach to the press. Below is an excerpt from her interview. Listen to the entire interview here.

Q. Trump appears to be combative with the press, how do you think of the way he’s dealing with them at this point?

He’s consistent in his methods and has certainly generated a ton of buzz about how he treats the press along with what he’s saying and not saying. In general I think it’s viewed to be a pretty haphazard approach.

Q. Well what do you think about the way the press is treating him?

It’s very interesting, I was thinking back to prior administrations and there were some reporters who were on the ‘do not call on’ list, and didn’t get to ask a single question for about eight years. I don’t think that’s much different from previous administrations, but perhaps Mr. Trump was a little more aggressive in explaining why he wasn’t going to call on certain reporters.

Q. Do you think the press has earned this reaction from the President Elect in terms of how they’ve been reporting on him?

That’s hard to say, like any spat between people you have to consider who started it, who responded to it, and how they ended up in this situation. I think the press have had a fairly negative view of the president-elect, but they are the people who report the news to the citizenry and so they’re due some respect on that front.

Q. Should he change the way he’s behaving with the press?

At some point he may find that he needs the press to get out his messages, and if so I think a different approach would be warranted.

Q. What about twitter, is that not going to be enough?

My opinion is that the people you reach through social media are not the same people you reach through the press, and your legacy is largely defined by the press not the twitter records. So those may be things he wants to consider.

Q. If the press has been essentially against you for years, how do you change their mind?

Like any relationship it requires a different approach. Maybe he holds more press conferences, maybe he’ll need to answer questions a little more directly, maybe use less combative terms. There’s no indication of that right now, his press secretary certainly came out swinging in this latest press conference.

Q. Do you think the press is truly unfair to Donald Trump, not just the way they deal with him, but in the tone they use to cover him?

I think there are certain viewpoints the press may have about him that get echoed article to article, and that may or may not be completely deserved. I think he also fosters some of his reputation of the press by the way he treats people.

Fine Tuning Voir Dire

I recently sat through voir dire as a panel member in one of the criminal district courts in Dallas County.  It’s always good to watch other practitioners go about their art; I always learn a lot (or am reminded of what I already know).  To my fellow trial lawyers who read this blog, here are a few reminders:

  • Communicate clearly about the legal principles at issue. This is particularly hard in a criminal voir dire when you aren’t allowed to discuss the facts, but make sure your questions are crystal clear about how the law works under various situations.  Counsel got tripped up when asking the ultimate “for cause” question, whether each panel member could award the full range of punishment.
  • Listen more than you talk. It takes professional maturity to know that it’s not about you or your mastery of the case; it’s about digging out information about your panel members as fast and as thoroughly as possible.
  • Ditch the pretense that voir dire is a game show and you are the host. No “I can’t hear you”-s after asking how the whole panel is today.  Find a way to be relatable without being insincere.
  • Focus on striking those people who are biased against your side. Never ever lose this focus.  It’s the only thing that matters.  You aren’t trying to impress 72 people; you’re trying to figure out which of those 72 people you can’t live with on your jury for the next two weeks.
  • Don’t ask a single question that doesn’t get you to the previous point. Sit down if you’ve asked all you need to ask.