After more than one month in the White House, President Donald Trump has taken a position against the press that is all too clear – he is supportive of outlets that sing his praises and marks those who criticize him as “the enemy” or “fake news.”
Since Trump’s inauguration, he and his team, including adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, have served news outlets one ridiculous headline after another. However, if any outlet – even one as credible as CNN – dare view his actions as president through a critical lens, they join a long blacklist of those who have scorned him.
By doing this, he likens his behavior to that of an unruly teenager, consistently defying authority.
If anyone dares to say anything he might not agree with, he locks himself in his Oval Office and will only answer the door to those who will tell him what he wants to hear. Not to mention he has used his position of power in establishing a cabinet full of equally rich and affluent peers, ones who are smarter than to defy his – or realistically, chief strategist Steve Bannon’s – actions as president.
What’s particularly terrifying about his blackballing of historically influential news outlets is that he disrupts the idea of the Fourth Estate – he fails to recognize the fourth pillar of democracy. The media is considered an objective observer with a purpose to ensure a healthy democracy, and keep government and those in power accountable.
What Trump doesn’t realize is that his bigoted, puffed-up bullying will only take him so far. At the heart of publications like the New York Times and CNN are journalists committed to asking honest, hard-hitting questions and delivering honest, hard-hitting truths.
It will take more than Trump’s formulaic huffing and puffing to dismantle that.
At the heart of journalism lies the desire to deliver truthful, unbiased news that offers information to the public. Average U.S. citizens rely on print journalism, broadcast journalism or online news to deliver the information they need to stay aware.
When President Trump bans media outlets like Univision, a widely popular Spanish-speaking news network, he immediately deafens its consumers to primary knowledge of what’s happening on Capitol Hill.
If all an outlet has to do to become outcasts is to criticize the choices of Bannon, Conway or Trump himself, how long will it be until the only outlet on the list is Fox News or fake news websites?
Though Fox News has conservative bias on their side, asking Trump the tough questions may get them on the banned list, too. The danger lies in his unpredictability.
Every person living in America has the right to know what’s going on within their country regardless of race, ethnicity, spoken language or religious belief.
Outlawing noticeably left-leaning outlets like The Huffington Post is one thing, but it is another thing to ban the New York Times or CNN, who have for years provided crucial reporting.
Not only is selective deafening of the press immature, it is also unethical.
The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, and the press. By banning media juggernauts that deliver information to the masses, Trump and his camp’s actions are fundamentally unconstitutional.
What’s most unsettling is considering the fact of what Trump’s relationship with the news once was. Long before press conferences in which he pointed fingers shouting “fake news,” he was a businessman-turned-celebrity.
Over the course of the last 20 years, Trump went from real estate tycoon to pop-culture phenomenon, all thanks to television appearances and the development of his own reality television show, “The Apprentice.”
So then why now the tension between Trump and media?
He should no longer use the influence of the press to elevate his career. He is no longer a pop culture phenomenon making cameos in summer blockbusters. He is the leader of our country and if the public is alarmed by his erratic responses, they should be.
The more Trump continues to suppress the rights of news outlets, the more he infringes upon the constitutional right of freedom of speech. If he continues to unethically silence truthful reporting, he contributes to the misinformation of the –American people, regardless of citizenship or documentation.
News outlets deserve the right to deliver facts to those consuming it. It is the responsibility of those outlets to deliver truthful and direct facts free from partisan politics.
Trump needs to sober up, because he is clearly drunk on his power.
Eventually, finger-pointing during press conferences will do nothing but keep Americans in the dark. If Trump bans even more reputable news sources and doesn’t allow the press to maintain and produce ethical material for the masses, he does an unethical disservice to the American people.
Americans deserve factual news, and the First Amendment secures the press’ right to do its job. If the president adds more names to his blacklist, he only suppresses the rights of journalists everywhere and prioritizes his image over the well-being of the United States and its inhabitants.