Media struggles for balance in covering hostile Trump

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Facing a White House which has been unrelenting in its attacks on the media, news organizations are struggling to find the right balance in covering President Donald Trump's administration.

Reporters and media groups are increasingly finding they are part of the story, after Trump's denunciation of "fake news" and his branding of media groups as "the enemy of the people."

Most news organizations have promised to fulfill their responsibility to report aggressively, without being vindictive.

"The goal is to be tough, but to be fair. The fairness part is an important part of the equation," said Richard Benedetto, an adjunct professor of journalism at American University who was a White House correspondent for USA Today.

The White House may have some justification for claiming the press is unfair: an NBC survey last month found 53 percent of Americans believed the media was exaggerating problems in the Trump administration.

"There seems to be a lack of concern about being fair," Benedetto said. "It's become kind of personal."

Before Trump's inauguration, Politico writer Jack Shafer said the press "ought to start thinking of covering Trump's Washington like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information directly from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life or death."

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