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Is Trump creating a dangerous world for journalists?

A free press is crucial for America

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Is Trump creating a dangerous world for journalists?

Ron Sachs/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS

Ron Sachs/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS

Ron Sachs/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS

By Kacey Connolly, Collegian Contributor

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On Feb. 11, President Trump held a rally in El Paso, Texas for his 2020 campaign. During this event, Trump addressed several concerns: trade deficits, building his wall, magic wands and, of course, his hatred for the media.

Trump made repeated claims about the news, claiming that “some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called fact checkers.” Comments like these aren’t new from the president; since Trump began running for office, he has continuously slammed the media for “fake news,” shouting allegations against any person or organization that dares to write something unfavorable about him.

Although such remarks are expected from Trump, it’s still shocking that one of his supporters would physically attack a BBC reporter moments after Trump dragged on about how the news misrepresented him. After everyone made sure the reporter was safe, and after various reports on this event spread across newspapers, a lingering question seemed to swirl: Has Trump’s invention of “fake news” created an unsafe environment for today’s journalists?

Now, I’m not saying every single news outlet is trustworthy, and I’m not saying every single journalist is a good one. Some journalists lie, like when Tucker Carlson from Fox News said in 2014 that “Far more children died last year drowning in their bathtubs than were killed accidentally by guns.” The president himself has been known to lie, like when he said that 3,000 people “did not die” in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico and that the death toll was “done by the Democrats.

But is it true that false statements like these are enough to deem all media untrustworthy? The answer is no, but the fact that there is a question at all is quite dangerous for anyone in or pursuing the field of journalism.

BBC reporter Ron Skeans was doing his job as a journalist at the El Paso Trump rally when a Trump supporter shoved and swore at him and other journalists on the scene out of nowhere. I understand that people can become consumed with passion for who they support at political rallies, eventually lashing out at those who disagree with them. The only problem is that Skeans wasn’t disagreeing or arguing with anybody, but instead doing his job as a cameraman, not to mention the fact that BBC is commonly known as a bipartisan news organization, making the attack even more unprovoked. The sole reason for the attack was Skeans’ profession and because Trump injects the idea that anyone affiliated with news media (except those who report in his favor, of course) is the enemy.

It makes sense for presidents to resent the media to some degree. It isn’t abnormal for a person to dislike those who question their motives and expose their secrets. However, none have disrupted the field of journalism as aggressively as Trump. It has now become not merely a resentment, but a threatening world for those in the career.

As a journalism student in college, I have been told in almost every class to always be aware of the threats that will be thrown at me because of my involvement in the industry. But this seems pretty ironic because of the freedom of speech and of the press that we have in America. Back in 1787 when the founding fathers were constructing our Constitution, they made the first amendment for a reason. Newspapers and journalists were there to protect citizens from their government, allowing every individual a chance to be well-informed on who they were electing and what the elected were doing. This is what made the United States of America the land of the free.

If we’re allowing our president to alter society’s view on journalism – to create a severe distrust for those who are there to protect us – how are we supposed to be the land of the free?

As a country, we need to combat the newly created stigma against media outlets. Our president may have convinced many that journalists live to lie about everyone and everything, but our president also averages 15 false claims a day. If the pot were ever calling the kettle black, it certainly is right now.

At the end of the day, journalism will always be a staple in America. From pre-revolutionary times to the 21st century, news has always been constant in this country and journalists will continue to perform watchdog duties upon the government, no matter how many Trump supporters shove us at rallies. James Franklin didn’t spend four weeks in jail in 1722 for printing satire about the government in “The New England Courant,” and the Washington Post’s Katharine Graham didn’t risk her family’s entire legacy by printing the Pentagon Papers just to see Donald Trump wreck American journalism. As Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once said, “The free press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”

Kacey Connolly is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Is Trump creating a dangerous world for journalists?”

  1. amy on February 19th, 2019 8:46 am

    This article is delusional. Trump is if anything voicing the will of the people and that is will that has disdain and distrust towards the media.

    The trust rating of media is even lower than congress and used car salesmen and of course lawyers. Journalists stack at the very bottom and I repeat.. even below a used cars sales person.

    This is nice idealistic article clamoring over supposed principals and rights of the press. In reality the media has no principals and it’s abused it’s position. It is supposed to report on the government and hold it accountable, instead it’s quasi-socialist, highly biased, one-sided printing machine that prints out lies, misinformation, attacks on the president, republicans and ordinary everyday Americans while flouting absurd things like ‘toxic masculinity’ and calling everyone a racist or white supremacists.

  2. NITZAKHON on February 19th, 2019 2:17 pm

    This deserves a good fisking.

    Trump is not alone in hating – not the media, but the ENEMEDIA. That the enemedia are, as Professor Glenn Reynolds of instapundit.com terms them, democratic operatives with bylines is widely known if you are to the right of Stalin. Not for nothing are there multiple memes, such as “Is that true, or did you see that on CNN?” And there’s a reason I have named them the New York Times-Traitor, the Washington Post-Fabricator, and so on. Because they’ve been so open, so blatant, so in-your-face about their Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) they might as well just have “WE HATE TRUMP!” as the opening and closing salvoes of any broadcast segment.

    TDS may have started with Trump, but in the 2004 election media mavens said that their support of Trump was probably worth 10 points in the polls (or more). Even before that people have attempted to expose media bias against Conservatives, e.g., Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News (https://amzn.to/2NfrgZE)

    First, let’s look at the “attacker” of the BBC whorenolist; I term them that because the BBC is notably left-leaning. Some camera angles seem to indicate that the MAGA hat still had its price tag on – WOW. Further, considering that during the 2016 campaign multiple agent provocateur events were intentionally staged by the Left to paint Trump supporters in a bad light. Given the recent faked “hate crime” by actor Jussie Smollet, one of legions of documented faked and fraudulent events, odds are good it’s a put-up job.

    As to kids and guns. The National Safety Council website table says that in 2017 there were 486 “Preventable/accidental” gun deaths for all age groups; for children 14 and under that number is… drum roll please… 62. Add in “Undetermined” for that same age segment, we add 22, for a total of 84. That’s 84 preventable/accidental/undetermined gun deaths in 2017. The next age group listed is 15-24; the numbers escalate rapidly in this age group… likely due to criminal activity. I’ll leave it as an exercise for someone who pretends to be a journalist to investigate and compare.

    Don’t forget, it was Trump who bugged journalists… oh, wait, that was Obama. Well, it was Trump who had computer hackers invade investigative journalist Sharyl Attkinson’s computer… oh, wait, that was Obama. It was Trump who said, in a whopper, “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it”… oh, wait, that was Obama.

    Connolly whines that if we allow Trump to change perceptions of the media…. wait, what? BWAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA! No, it’s the media that have changed perceptions of the media. That’s why you’re WIDELY called the ENEMEDIA, the MISLEADIA, the “drive by media”. Because you lie. You carry the water for one political party, and openly so.

    Here’s just one complilation of FAKE NEWS:

    http://thefederalist.com/2017/02/06/16-fake-news-stories-reporters-have-run-since-trump-won/

    But now… to return to the Smollet story – with breathless condemnation the enemedia attacked anyone to the right of Stalin as HATE GROUPS who helped perpetrate and create the atmosphere leading to this horrific… faked event. Not only that, but they refuse to admit that they did it, outright lying saying they never said the things they’re recorded as saying. Same thing for the Covington teens; the enemedia are being sued – and hopefully lose their shirts, livers, and kidneys too.

    Lying for a political cause is nothing new. Walter Cronkite lied on national TV, misusing his position and causing a sea change in the perception of the Vietnam war, which caused us to lose that war. Giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America used to carry with it a short drop and sudden stop; now, Democrats and the enemedia – I repeat myself – give themselves awards and fall over themselves to see how anti-American they can be.

    No, Ms. Conolly, you’re objecting to President Trump’s naming of the enemedia… because he fights back. The vast majority of the media today are lying sacks of Democrat, and while prior GOP pols meekly submitted, Trump strikes back.

    But I do see a bright future for you on the Very Fake News Network, so that’s a plus.

  3. NITZAKHON on February 21st, 2019 1:37 pm

    LIVING PROOF that the enemedia is Orwellian. After going on and on and on about Jussie Smollet being attacked by raaaaacists, CNN literally gaslights to say “We never bought into it”.

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/kristine-marsh/2019/02/21/lemon-brags-cnn-was-always-skeptical-smollett-defends-actor

    And then you wonder why Americans don’t trust you, and why Trump labels you FAKE NEWS.

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