OPINION: The War on Journalism
Jonathan McCollough | Staff Writer
Journalists have a responsibility to report the truth, and Donald Trump is trying to take that away from them.
The media has essentially carried Trump through the Republican primary, giving him over 2 billion dollars in free coverage, according to the New York Times. Despite this, the media has been one of Trump’s most consistent targets for attack.
He has called the media “disgusting and corrupt” and has blamed them for his sagging poll numbers, tweeting that if it wasn’t for the media, he “would be beating Hillary by 20 percent.”
The problem for Trump is that most of these attacks are not based on fact, and in reality, he would be much worse off if it wasn’t for the press.
The “biased liberal media” are the ones who revealed and continued to write story after story about Hillary Clinton’s email controversy. They are the ones who reported on Hillary’s Benghazi hearings. They gave seemingly endless coverage to FBI Director James Comey’s criticism of Hillary over her email practices which led to the massive anti-Hillary rhetoric of the RNC Convention in Cleveland and the chants to “lock her up.” More importantly for Trump, they gave him a free platform to spread his populist message and get his word out to voters.
All the while they were doing their duty to uncover the truth and spread information to the people in a way that is fair and just.
It is true that Trump has received far more negative press than the average candidate for President, but that is simply a result of the way he is.
Politifact, a nonpartisan, Pulitzer-Prize-winning, fact-checking organization, found that 70 percent of questionable statements from Trump have been falsehoods, while only 27 percent of Clinton’s questionable statements have been found to be false.
Trump simply doesn’t give much value to truth.
This is the man who started the birther movement saying that Obama is not a citizen, he denies the fact that climate change is happening or that there is a drought in California, he said that Obama was the founder of ISIS, he claimed that crime is rising despite it being at its lowest point in decades, he implied that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK – the list goes on.
But when journalists call him out for his falsehoods, he discounts them as being biased and, for some reason, people listen to him.
He recently has gone as far as to attack the First Amendment, tweeting that “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!”
Well, guess what Donald, by definition it is.
Just like Trump has the right to say things that are completely inaccurate, the media has the right to report on it, and it will continue to do so to ensure that people hear the truth.
Trump has set up a situation in which he grabs ahold of positive coverage and spreads it for everyone to see, but the second he is criticized he reverts back to his criticism of the media as being biased or unfair. As he benefits from free coverage, he attacks the journalists providing it.
And I would say that is truly unfair.