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The Fearful State of Journalism

Jax Dallas, Entertainment Editor

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In America, there is a growing sense of distrust and disdain towards journalists that work for papers like The Washington Post, The New York Times and many other traditionally credible news sources. This distrust is being fueled by President Donald Trump and his administration, who has repeatedly made false claims on the state of journalism in America, and this type of behavior cannot be accepted.

The first one hundred days of President Trump’s presidency have come to a close as of April 29, and the climate that has been created for journalists in that time period is daunting to say the least. In the last one hundred days, President Trump has condemned media as “the enemy of the American people” on multiple occasions, has turned a blind eye to personal attacks against reporters who are critical to his administration and has propagated his own “alternative facts” to make his administration look positive.

The Trump administration has been systematically tarnishing the reputation of news journals that have questioned them or their actions and has even turned to supression of journalists that borders on being unconstitutional. In January, Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter, calling CNN “terrible” and full of “fake news” before turning and taking a question from a Breitbart reporter.

Breitbart News is an even more complex can of worms to dig into. Breitbart is an “alt-right” news site that was founded in part by Steve Bannon, the current White House chief strategist. When visiting Breitbart, one can expect to find wonderful headlines such as “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?” or “Geert Wilders: Islam Is Not a Religion, It’s a Totalitarian Ideology.” President Trump has defended Bannon and Breitbart News stating it is “just a publication” that is akin to bigger, more credible news sites when, in reality, it is a breeding ground for false information.

The Trump Administration also came under fire in February when Omarosa Manigault, a current communications official for the Trump Administration, was heard threatening a reporter who had written negatively about the Administration, stating that she had a “dossier” on him and reporters like him. On the campaign trail, Trump also mocked a reporter who had a physical disability and a female reporter for speaking ill of him.

In multiple press conferences, the president and Sean Spicer, press secretary of the White House, have stated that they are averse to the media publishing “fake news” that puts them in a negative light, and this is understandable. American citizens should not accept news journalists publishing false information, but they should not accept their government making false claims either.

The Trump administration began their stint in office with a shaky start.“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” claimed Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, regarding the size of the turnout for President Trump’s inauguration. This statement is objectively false and contradicts all photos, ticket sales and historical records of previous presidential elections, and it is estimated that President Trump’s crowd size at his inauguration is one third of that of President Obama in 2009. The most shocking aspect of this baldfaced lie is that it is over such a small issue. There is no reason other than pride to lie about turnouts in such a fashion.

The Trump administration did not stop skewing facts after the inauguration. For one example of many, in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump claimed that Obamacare covered “very few” people. In actuality, the program covers approximately 20 million people.

Blatantly false claims like these are why the Trump Administration wants to tear down institutions like The Washington Post, CNN, and The New York Times. The administration wants to scare journalists into submission so that they will not call out their lies for what they are. By making claims that journalists are “the enemy of the American people,” President Trump is trying to wear away the trust that Americans hold in journalism; he is trying to make it so that Americans only trust news sites like Breitbart and that cannot become a reality for America.
No matter what your opinions are on President Trump’s policies, it is important to trust your senses when you feel as if what you are hearing come out of your president’s or press Secretary’s mouth is untrue because it is likely that it is. As Americans, we need to come together and show that we will not stand for the suppression of the press. Whether you support the president or not, we have made it through only 100 of his 1460 days in office, and a nation can only stay healthy for so long when its journalists fear reporting the truths around them.

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The Fearful State of Journalism