Zoe Daniel is tired. You can’t blame her. There is possibly no more demanding, difficult and unrelenting job in journalism right now than covering US President Donald Trump. As the ABC’s US Bureau Chief, Zoe Daniel is required to file several times per day to keep a gob-smacked Australian audience across the real time goings-on in the most chaotic, dramatic and newsworthy US Presidency in history.
“So, just another day,” she tells Mia Freedman when she calls to talk to her for the latest episode of Tell Me It’s Going To Be OK podcast about all things Donald Trump. They had just finished talking about everything from offending Boy Scouts to banning transgender soldiers and she has to get off the phone to rush off and talk on TV about it all.
It was 6:30pm in the evening for Zoe when they chatted, and like all journalists tasked with covering Trump (The New York Times have a dozen of them working on shifts because you never know when the President is going to tweet at 2am), she sounded exhausted, admitting she can never turn off her phone.
Zoe has been based in Washington since December 2015, and she is often in the press briefing room. The actual press briefing room that has been immortalised by The West Wing, Veep, House of Cards, Saturday Night Live and…..Sean Spicer
The full interview with Zoe is on the podcast and you can listen below, but here’s some of what she had to say about what it’s like to be up close and personal with the main characters starring in the circus also known as the White House.
You can listen to the whole interview with Zoe Daniel on Tell Me It’s Going To Be Ok, right here. (Post continues after audio.)
MIA: I’m fascinated to ask about your job. In terms of your day-to-day with a President who is basically enacting another campaign but against the media, what is it like to be part of the press corps?
ZOE: It’s hectic. It’s utterly relentless. That negativity towards the press doesn’t rub off on us so much because we’re in the national press so we’re not quite the target. But that said, I’ve been to many events where the crowd has been very much railing against us directly in our faces because Donald Trump’s been geeing them up with that anti-media message. I think one thing that’s frustrating is just getting clear information and clear answers on basic questions out of the White House can be quite difficult.
Often you get multiple different answers from multiple different people. So that makes it hard to just report things accurately. Simply. But it’s just, I think, the main thing for journalists overall is the relentless and completely unpredictable nature of this administration. Lots of veterans in the White House press corps said to me that they’ve never experienced anything like it. So it’s just a completely new beast.
MIA: Can you ever turn your phone off?
ZOE: No, definitely not.
MIA: So tell me about why and how Donald Trump has made this announcement about transgender people being banned from the military.