BY TAYLOR FARNSWORTH
Digs at the media are expected from the public. Biases arise and judgements conflicting with one another stir-up an endless spew of conflicting conversations. Intellects are challenged by their beliefs and targeted by the opposition. This is democracy, this is what we praise as our freedom in America.
Part of educating oneself on any topic comes from hearing the other side. But in this so called Trump Era of journalism, no one can hear the other side when we are speaking over each other. It is no longer about getting closer to uncovering the truth, about hearing each and all sides of the matter, instead it has become about whether or not you are right or you are wrong. Most people would assume that’s the same thing as finding the truth, but in this whirlwind of a Presidency, it isn’t that black and white.
Trump’s continuous claims of “fake news” in the media have provided the public with a new counter argument, if you’re getting your news from any liberal leaning platform, then your news is ultimately fake. The term “fake” is now correlated to whether or not you believe it to be true. It is not whether or not it is factually true, but whether you believe it to be, and if you don’t believe it to be the truth then you might as well take a big fat red sharpie over the article and write the word “fake” across the entirety of it. Or in Trump’s case, take an old WrestleMania clip of yourself beating up Vince McMahon and replace McMahon with the logo of your least favorite news source. Yes, that really did happened.
Violence insinuated towards journalists is not within the norms of a democracy, but somehow it’s found its way into everyday conversation. The President has set a new standard of tolerance for any sort of violence towards those who disapprove, disagree, or challenge himself and/or his administration. His pattern of insinuating violence has only increased with his power and growing instability. What started off as offering to pay lawyer fees for those that desire to beat up any protesters at his rallies, has now turned into the public sending death threats to journalists.
The encouragement of violence against reporters by the President of a country founded on the belief of the freedom of speech and press, should send red flags to anyone who has been blinded thus far by the lack of normalcy of this Presidency. People who were seeking an outlet that encourages their anger, fears, and resentment have found a golden ticket with President Trump. What should come as a shock that journalists have to fear for their life if they are to report any troubles, concerns, questions, or simply do their job, no longer appears to be a concern of those all aboard the Trump train. Unfortunately, the rhetoric of Trump has allowed those to assume it is of the norms to evoke verbal attacks on any and all Trump haters, including journalists.
What the public needs to be reminded of is the reality that comes with being a journalist in not only America, but other parts of the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists has worked hard to create an environment that allows the public to be educated on the real threats faced by journalists. Their website reveals the deaths of journalists killed every year whether it be due to politics, crime, war, etc. Eighteen journalists have been killed this year for doing their job. Eighteen journalists have lost their life due to politics, crime, war, etc. This is real. These are facts.
To sit back and watch the President encourage violent attacks on the media while diminishing their credibility is not only deeply disturbing but it’s unjust. There is no place for violence in a field that’s duty is to serve the public and report the truth to the best of their ability. There is no place for violence against anyone who disagrees, points out your flaws, or questions your judgement. There is no place for violence in a Country that claims to value equality, diversity, and inclusion.
I am not saying we shouldn’t question the media. I am aware of the lingering of biases among reporters as well as the public. My concern falls within the lack of respect and dignity we are giving one another when we do not meet at a common ground. My concern is that we will long for arguments between one another insinuated by the mindless banter of a President that doesn’t uphold the rights set forth in our own Constitution.