Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson

By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist


Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, the three prisoners released by North Korea this week, must think they are in some sort of time/reasoning warp. They were no doubt used to the North Koreans being insulting to our president. But to arrive here and find our media trashing the man they view as their savior, namely President Donald Trump, must be very confusing for them.

President Trump is fed up with the bashing, too. Last Wednesday, he spoke of pulling journalists’ credentials if the news continues to be 91 percent negative toward him, as was reported in a recent analysis. This statement by the president got Matt Drudge up in arms, worried about “licensing” of journalists.

I think President Trump has a legitimate beef. The domestic economy is doing excellent, inflation is under control, unemployment records (the good kind) are being shattered all the way back into the 1960s.

On the international front, Trump is doing well, too. He is renegotiating NAFTA to be more favorable to us. He is in trade talks with China. North Korea is coming to a peace summit, and he has put Iran on notice that we are not putting up with their chicanery.

Overall, his record is quite impressive on matters that count.

I would like to see journalism schools start bringing balance to their perspective by embracing diversity – diversity of political views in journalism schools. Instead of having a faculty composed almost completely of liberals, how about a faculty that is half conservative, half liberal? This is real diversity.

For the journalists already in the field, there are a couple of solutions. If I were Trump, and I am not the first to say this, I might shut down the daily press briefing. Why invite people to your party when all they do is trash it every day?

As for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, if roles were reversed and she were the press spokesperson for a Democrat president, the howls would be to high heaven. She seems to be a good person, and she is treated so shabbily by the press, it’s disgraceful.

I am not sure that licensing journalists – but not those who write on the opinion page – violates the First Amendment, either. I don’t see it as any different than licensing machine guns, a law which has been in place since the 1930s, and which is not harmful to the Second Amendment. In both cases, you take wicked tools out of the hands of those with evil intent.

The opinion page is a different matter. It is, of course, where I write, so perhaps I am biased. Yet, I think the opinion page needs to be wide open, welcoming different voices and different perspectives, and allowing fools (perhaps me?) a place to demonstrate their foolishness.

Last fall, several journalism schools’ students breathed a sigh of relief when curricula were changed to eliminate even a first course in algebra at the college level. I found this appalling. I think we need journalists and reporters who have a solid grounding in the practical matters of life.

Otherwise, on what basis can they report anything with credibility? It is all just blather.

So, if I were President Trump, one way I might consider keeping the daily presser in place, is if there were a test that each participant would need to pass. It is a pass/fail test, so it should be fairly easy. It can be conducted at the North Portico of the White House in the driveway. My test – in order to be a credentialed press participant at the White House – is this: You must be able to change a tire on a car (unassisted and uncoached throughout the process) in less than two hours.

The car will be a random one supplied by the White House.

From what I have seen, this should cut the population in the press room in half immediately.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.