Fake News: Trump’s Relationship With the Media

"You are fake news!" said Trump not to The Courier.

Eric Hsieh, Opinions Section Editor

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Does Donald Trump’s presidency mark a new era of yellow journalism and politicized “fake news” where the facts and fantasy are blurred depending upon whether you lean left or right? Or is the media simply doing its job? In reality, both sides are correct in some aspects.  

Throughout the election and even now, President Trump has bashed the mainstream media. Trump declared, “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth, right?” (Washington Post).  Trump has frequently called popular media outlets, such as the New York Times, CNN, and NBC, “dishonest” and “fake news” (New York Times). One of Trump’s most flagrant attacks was on CNN reporter Jim Acosta. At a White House Press Conference, Trump refused to answer Acosta’s question, simply stating, “You are fake news.” (CNN). Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist and former head of Breitbart, a conservative news network, has described the mainstream media as the “opposition party” and suggested that the relationship between the Administration and the media would not be repaired anytime soon.

So why does the President call the media “dishonest” and disgusting” and “the enemy of the people?” (Washington Post). In an interview with CNN, Ben Stein, an economist and former speechwriter for Nixon, believes that everyday media outlets constantly slam the President and look for a scandal where one may not exist. One prominent example was the Russian dossier published by Buzzfeed, which contained numerous allegations of Trump’s Russian ties, many of which are unconfirmed or refuted.  However, the FBI is currently investigating many of these allegations.

While some facets of the media may seem to be overly critical of Trump, it is simply wrong to call it “fake news.” It is a journalist’s job to publish the verifiable facts and give the reader an unadulterated understanding of what is going on. Thus, while it may seem to some like the media is out to get Trump, they are merely holding him accountable for some of his preposterous and unverifiable statements (often via Twitter), such as the “fact” that his inauguration was the most attended in history (not true), that millions voted illegally (unverified), and that the former administration wiretapped him (refuted by the Director of the FBI).

Overall, Trump’s attack on the media may have some justification, as many of the stories surrounding him are often sensationalized and used to serve a political agenda. However, the media is not “fake news” at all, and it should not back down from its fact-checking, and should never stop holding Trump accountable for statements he makes.  

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