Latest posts by David McDonald (see all)
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Image acquired from David Mattiacci
A free press is a cornerstone of any democracy. One does not have to agree with what is written, but all Americans have the right to express themselves and question the authority to ensure stable leadership.
President Trump has cemented his political career by rising up against the American media and “standing up for himself” against what he so famously deems “fake news.”
Fake news or not, to attack the American free press is not only unpresidential, it is un-democratic. That is, for a democracy to be successful, it must have accountability. Not only accountability of individual politicians but also institutions, political parties and other decision making entities.
Free media plays a substantial role in ensuring this aspect and in spreading information to the public on what the politicians, leaders, institutions and parties are doing. It also makes sure that every opinion, regardless of how unpopular it might be, gets a chance to be heard and understood.
If media is not free and news is being manipulated, this will take away from the citizens’ right to information and right to form an opinion based on these information, which is essential to the democratic process, and is one of many American ideals being heavily challenged under Trump’s leadership.
It is one thing to defend, but to attack?
When elected, Donald Trump swore on oath that he would “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” yet consistently tightropes along the line of constitutional and unconstitutional.
I say this, because barring members of the press who have been critical of the policies and actions of the US administration is a clear violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment is the clearest symbol of the American people’s right to free speech, and the President of all people is putting the nation’s constitution to the test.
Throughout his political career, Trump has defended himself against the belligerent US media and he has been praised for it by his supporters.
His anti-politically correctness came at a time when America needed someone to shake up the establishment. He won the votes of millions of Americans and earned himself a seat in the White House after proving he can handle the stresses that come with being the President of The United States, even if some of his tactics are questionable.
One of many Trump tactics is to defend himself from the media at all costs. However, since taking office, many have accused the President of abusing his power in order to orchestrate attacks on news outlets that hinder his public image.
White House Bans Several News Outlets From Briefing
Shortly after President Donald Trump vowed to “do something” about the “cunning” media who he’s called “the enemy” of the American people, CNN announced on air it, and other members of the press, had been barred from a White House briefing this week.
CNN reports The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Politico also were told they were not on the White House list for last week’s White House briefing.
Breitbart, Fox News, Washington Times, and One America News Network were among those given entry, CNN reported.
“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” NYT executive editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”
Fox News’s Shep Smith talked about the barring of CNN from the gaggle, and Trump’s repeated reference to that network as “fake news”:
“For the report, ‘fake news’ refers to stories that are created, often by entities pretended to be news organizations, solely to draw clicks and views and and based on nothing of substance,” Smith said on the air. “In short, fake news is made-up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN’s reporting was not fake news.”
Here’s the clip that stirred up the recent CNN “fake news” controversy.
[rev_slider alias=”Trump shuts down CNN”]
In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Trump criticized as “fake news” organizations that publish anonymously sourced reports that reflect poorly on him. And in a series of Twitter posts, he assailed the F.B.I. as a dangerously porous agency, condemning unauthorized revelations of classified information from within its ranks and calling for an immediate hunt for leakers.
Mr. Trump’s barrage against the news media continued well into Friday night. “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth,” he wrote on Twitter shortly after 10 p.m., singling out The Times and CNN. “A great danger to our country.”
The moves underscored the degree to which Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle are eager to use the prerogatives of the presidency to undercut those who scrutinize him, dismissing negative stories as lies and confining press access at the White House to a few chosen news organizations considered friendly.
However, it is not up to the President to choose their representatives in the media – it is up to the people. Although Trump won the election, there still remains a large proportion of the US population that disagrees with many of his decisions, which is why “anti-Trump” media or “fake news” exists; to question the President’s decisions.
The quandary is this: the US media should continue to report on Trump’s actions as Presidents and report the facts, but should do so without bias. Furthermore, it would be in America’s best interest for President Trump to act within the constitution and revoke from excluding media networks from White House briefings.
There is clearly a movement to discredit the President who was legitimately elected by the majority of people in the majority of States. It is time for these news outlets who consistently criticize Trump to stick to, and report the facts without bias, and opinion pieces should be evenly distributed between pro and anti the policies the President is putting forth, not pro and anti the President himself. Unless this happens the press can expect to be shut out more and more over time.
The ‘press wars’ must stop for the sake of the American people. There are issues on both sides of this battle. True, Trump has a problem with any criticism. However, reading the NYT and Washington Post, both of which worked very hard to elect Hillary Clinton, one might think the election campaign never ended.