The Resistance Reports
March 19, 2017
One of the planet’s top wire service news unit, HQ in London, Reuters, in a letter, told reporters to cover Trump like an authoritarian regime.
The letter encouraged reporters to “never be intimidated” by the administration. Among other advice, the news agency pointed out that reporters should “Give up on hand-outs and worry less about official a Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler used examples of Reuter’s reporting in authoritarian regimes, to issue new guidance on the way his news organization would cover the Trump administration.
Reuters is a worldwide wire news service that operates in nearly 100 countries. Adler noted in his company-wide missive that covering the first 12 days of President Donald Trump’s administration has been “especially challenging for us in the news business.”
He raised President Donald Trump’s earlier comments that journalists are “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon’s declaration that the media is the “opposition party” to the administration.
Adler said Reuter’s central mission would not change amid these circumstances because it already knows how to report in countries in “which the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack.” He highlighted the news organization’s “work in Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia,” all of which are authoritarian regimes.
Reuters compared covering Donald Trump’s presidency to covering other authoritarian regimes, i.e. Egypt, Yemen and China.
“It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists ‘among the most dishonest human beings on earth’ or that his chief strategist dubs the media ‘the opposition party’,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler wrote in a message to staff on Tuesday. “It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.”
He cited the organization’s work in “Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia” as an example of how to report on the Trump administration.
While all reporters are journalists, not all journalists are reporters. Yes, all journalism assumes reporting, but “reporter” means something different than “columnist” or “editorial writer.” Generally speaking, the job of reporters involves news writing rather than opinion or commentary.
Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are subordinate to the state and there is no constitutional accountability under an authoritarian regime. Juan Linz‘s influential 1964 description of authoritarianism characterized authoritarian political systems by four qualities:
- limited political pluralism; that is, such regimes place constraints on political institutions and groups like legislatures, political partiesand interest groups;
- a basis for legitimacybased on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat “easily recognizable societal problems” such as underdevelopment or insurgency;
- minimal social mobilizationmost often caused by constraints on the public such as suppression of political opponents and anti-regime activity;
- informally defined executive power with often vague and shifting powers.
Adler said that reporters could use experience learned in “nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.”
Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data. Since the acquisition of Reuters Group by the Thomson Corporation in 2008, the Reuters news agency has been a part of Thomson Reuters, making up the media division. Reuters transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese. It was established in 1851.
Share price grew during the dotcom boom, then fell after the banking troubles in 2001. In 2002, Brittanica wrote that most news throughout the world came from three major agencies: the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse. Reuters merged with Thomson Corporation in Canada in 2008, forming Thomson Reuters. In 2009, Thomson Reuters withdrew from the LSE and the NASDAQ, instead listing its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. The last surviving member of the Reuters family founders, Marguerite, Baroness de Reuter, died at age 96 on 25 January 2009. As of 2010, Reuters was headquartered in New York City, and provided financial information to clients while also maintaining its traditional news-agency business.
In 2012, Thomson Reuters appointed Jim Smith as CEO. Almost every major news outlet in the world subscribed to Reuters as of 2014. Reuters operated in more than 200 cities in 94 countries in about 20 languages as of 2014. In July 2016, Thomson Reuters agreed to sell its intellectual property and science operation for $3.55 billion to private equity firms. In October 2016, Thomson Reuters announced expansions and relocations to Toronto. As part of cuts and restructuring, in November 2016, Thomson Reuters Corp. eliminated 2,000 worldwide jobs out of its around 50,000 employees.
The Reuters News Agency employs some 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters journalists use the Reuters Handbook of Journalism as a guide for fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests, to maintain the values of integrity and freedom upon which their reputation for reliability, accuracy, speed and exclusivity relies.
In May 2000, Kurt Schork, an American reporter, was killed in an ambush while on assignment in Sierra Leone. In April and August 2003, news cameramen Taras Protsyuk and Mazen Dana were killed in separate incidents by U.S. troops in Iraq. In July 2007, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed when they were struck by fire from a U.S. military Apache helicopter in Baghdad. During 2004, cameramen Adlan Khasanov in Chechnya and Dhia Najim in Iraq were also killed. In April 2008, cameraman Fadel Shana was killed in the Gaza Strip after being hit by an Israeli tank.
The first Reuters journalist to be taken hostage[dubious – discuss] in action was Anthony Grey. Detained by the Chinese government while covering China’s Cultural Revolution in Peking in the late 1960s, it was said to be in response to the jailing of several Chinese journalists by the colonial British government of Hong Kong. He was considered to be the first political hostage of the modern age and was released after being imprisoned for 27 months from 1967 to 1969. Awarded an OBE by the British Government after his release, he went on to become a best-selling historical novelist.
In May 2016 the Ukrainian website Myrotvorets published the names and personal data of 4,508 journalists, including Reuters reporters, and other media staff from all over the world, who were accredited by the self-proclaimed authorities in the separatist-controlled regions of eastern Ukraine.