Last week hundreds of media outlets across the country published articles in their editorials section debunking the allegations from Donald Trump claiming the media as “fake news.” This decision was to take a stand in solidarity against Trump for the injustice he has done against the media, the truth and journalism.
The media reports the truth. Like any person telling a story, there will always be perspective to that story and what many people have come to refer to as a media bias. While many media publications tend to have a bias, that’s simply the journalist’s perspective of the news or opinion as reported. Though bias does exist, media exists solely to inform the public and to allow the people to decide what to conclude of the report, not blindly follow the impulsive words of a man with power and believe solely whatever he says.
Trump called the media “the enemy of the people,” but what Trump fails to understand is who the media writes for. What ulterior motive does the media have to produce “fake news” when the entire basis of journalism is to report the truth?
As a journalist, I can’t find any reasons for journalists and publications to report false facts, when many of media’s claims can be quickly fact checked by a three-minute search on the Internet, though I can understand the motives of a man caught in several unfortunate situations because of the media.
What Trump would like to do is alienate the populace from the media. This in itself follows the pattern as some of the most infamous authoritarian leaders in world history.
To be clear, an authoritarian government is defined as “favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.” Note the last line: “at the expense of personal freedom.” Specifically for Trump, that freedom would mean the First Amendment — freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of peaceful protest and freedom of religion — all of which he has stood against in one fashion or another since his inauguration.
What seems to me an argument against the media is truthfully a defense for himself. Trump means to establish his credibility by disenfranchising those who oppose him, and quite frankly, those who report the grievances he has said and done.
Trump uses “fake news” as an excuse to encourage the populace to ignore the facts the media is reporting, whether positive or negative, and listen to the filtered information he wants the public to know. Through this rhetoric, he means to control public information, which in the hands of a billionaire with the highest political power this country has to offer, can be extremely dangerous.
Why else would there be several media outlets? What the media intends to do is report the news, all with different perspectives and ideas. While some media outlets would rather concern themselves with viewership and ratings, there are other honest media publications.
The public, in turn, should challenge themselves to utilize the various forms of media and information widely available to them. From there, the facts and opinions become clear. Then it’s up to the people to decide what’s right and wrong — not the president, not the media, but the people.