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The national media appear to be digging in for a long fight with President-elect Trump, and are already issuing stern warnings about how the Trump administration should behave weeks before Trump officially takes office.

A group of press freedom and government transparency groups sent an open letter to Trump on Wednesday to call on him and his incoming administration to abide by the rules that traditionally govern the press-White House relationship.

“A great America depends on having sunlight on its leaders,” said the letter, signed by the heads of the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others. “We expect the traditions of White House press coverage to be upheld whether in Washington or elsewhere.”

The letter came a day after Trump left his current headquarters at Trump Tower in New York City to have dinner at a restaurant, without telling the pool of reporters tasked with following his moves in public.

“We call on you to commit to a protective press pool from now until the final day of your presidency,” the letter said. “We respectfully ask you to instill a spirit of openness and transparency in your administration in many ways but first and foremost via the press pool.”

Early in his campaign, Trump was the toast of the national press, who loved the headlines and traffic he gave them. But the press got tougher once Trump won the nomination, and that friction is likely to increase as reporters battle for more access to his coming administration and demand that he follow the usual protocol that comes with being president.

The press pool is a group of rotating journalists that follow the president to his public events and document his activity. It is expected that wherever the president goes, the pool is there to report anything newsworthy.

That would require Trump’s handlers to inform the pool when he is on the move, which did not happen Tuesday when he went to dinner, leaving reporters scrambling. Hope Hicks, Trump’s press secretary, told reporters afterwards that she “wasn’t aware” of Trump’s outing and that she didn’t intentionally “leave the press in the dark.”

But the incident had journalists crying foul, and arguing that if something tragic had happened to Trump, the news media wouldn’t have been in a position to tell the public.

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“We are going to have, as an institution, on behalf of the American people — not because we’re a special interest — fights with this new administration about coverage,” said Bloomberg Politics’ Mark Halperin on MSNBC Wednesday. “There’s a reason why there’s a protective pool. … It’s vitally important for the democracy.”

Olivier Knox, White House correspondent for Yahoo News, complained that Trump had “ditched” the press. “Reporters were mocked for making a big deal of the incident, which did not feature Trump’s traveling far from his Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan,” he wrote. “But it’s unprecedented in modern history for a president-elect not to have a protective pool…”

Trump’s presidential campaign was fraught with tense moments with the press during the campaign. He banned certain publications from attending his campaign events.

For reporters who were admitted into his mega-rallies, he would point at them and call them “disgusting,” which led his supporters to boo them. He famously threatened to “open up” libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations for reporting inaccurate information.

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On Sunday, New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg said, “[I]f Mr. Trump keeps up the posture he displayed during the campaign — all-out war footing — the future will hold some very grim days, not just for news reporters but also for the American constitutional system that relies on a free and strong press.”

He added, “Imagine what somebody with a press vendetta and a dim view of the First Amendment would do with that kind of power.”

Last week, Society of Professional Journalists President Lynn Walsh said Trump’s presidency may present a threat to press freedoms.

“We want you to know the Society is prepared and ready to work with President-elect Donald J. Trump and his administration to ensure journalists continue to function free and without fear of prosecution — as intended by our Founding Fathers,” Walsh said in a statement. “However, you may, understandably, be concerned about the future. We saw a campaign trail littered with attacks against ‘the media’ and journalists from both sides. President-elect Trump’s past comments and actions about and toward the press foreshadows a potentially dangerous reality.”

And Trump has all along continued to use his favorite communication tool, Twitter, to fight the media.

Responding Wednesday morning to a report about staff shakeups in his transition team, he wrote on Twitter that the New York Times is ” just upset that they looked like fools in their coverage of me.”

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