Editor cautions journalists: Don't 'spin out of control' about Trump's media attacks

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works for the podcast.

Chicago (CNN)As mainstream news outlets grapple with their increasingly stormy relationship with the White House, one leading editor warns that reporters should not "spin out of control" in response to President Trump's anti-media posture.

Jeffrey Goldberg, veteran Washington correspondent and editor in chief of The Atlantic, says the reporters who cover the Trump administration should not be distracted from their duties by a hostile White House.
"To me, it's all about journalistic composure," Goldberg told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files," a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN. Goldberg spoke last week before the White House press secretary took the unprecedented step of blocking several news outlets, including CNN, from attending an off-camera press briefing.
"We're not supposed to be the resistance. We're not supposed to be the opposition," Goldberg added. "We're supposed to tell the truth about what's happening in any given moment and in any given place. And let's just do that."
Reflecting on the toxic relationship between the White House and the reporters who cover it, Goldberg cautioned, "The danger is that (journalists) spin ourselves out of control out of anxiety or fear or whatever you want to call it," he said. "But all that this moment requires is a doubling down of our basic commitment to a fact-based discourse."
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Just days after the conversation with Goldberg took place, Trump continued his strategy of portraying the media as opposition with the news media during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in which he suggested media outlets rely on fabricated sources.
"A few days ago, I called the fake news 'the enemy of the people,' and they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none," the President said.
Goldberg, a prominent foreign affairs analyst, also commented on Trump's debut on the global stage—from the consequences of Trump's decision to withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade agreement, to what the new dynamics of the U.S.-Israel alliance could mean for Middle East peace. He warned that the President's impulsive instincts and inflammatory rhetoric could risk hurtling the country toward an international crisis.
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"My first instinct is to say that (Trump's foreign policy) is heading towards some kind of disaster," he said, arguing that Trump doesn't give appropriate forethought to the decisions he's making as President.
Goldberg continued, "I'm afraid that we're heading into a situation in which there will be a provocation, there will be an attack that is going to cause an over-response, that is going to make the terrorism problem worse, not better."
To hear the whole conversation with Goldberg, click on http://podcast.cnn.com. To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at http://itunes.com/theaxefiles.