Since he first declared his candidacy for President of the United States, Donald Trump has been no stranger to controversy. Time and time again, throughout the campaign cycle and even now as President, he is unafraid to shake the foundations of the political establishment. One ongoing conversation that has sparked, thanks to the rise of Trump, is the role of the mainstream media.
While conservatives have generally labeled the mainstream media as a left-leaning propaganda machine, there has been a renewed reevaluation of the networks and the journalists that the country relies on to bring us the news.
President Trump has triggered a meltdown among journalists and alarmists on the Left who believe that there is a war on the media, amounting to a direct assault on the mainstream media. The question at this point seems to be whether or not this is a legitimate claim or more partisan hyperbole.
A review of media coverage in the last year makes one thing clear: the networks are no friend of the Right. This isn’t breaking news to many, but it’s become more overt. President Trump’s willingness to directly tackle the press has sounded the alarms and sent up red flags across America.
There is certainly a war between President Trump and the mainstream media, but where does the mainstream media stand in relation to the people?
Fake News has become the norm in the last year, with various mainstream outlets regularly pushing questionable headlines and stories. One prominent example is when the Associated Press pushed a story claiming President Trump threatened to invade Mexico. While a denial out of the White House is not surprising, the Mexican Government also backed up the President in noting the assertions were false.
So what happened? Did the Associated Press fabricate a news story? Did it take a lead and manipulate it into bigger news than it was? Or did the organization simply jump the gun on anonymous information without working to independently verify it?
The mainstream media does appear to be more concerned with being first than being right, which seems to be occurring more as outlets shift away from print. TIME Magazine’s reporter Zeke Miller caught heat from President Trump after he reported that a Martin Luther King Jr. bust had been removed from the Oval Office.
Was this another instance of President Trump simply lashing out at the mainstream media for daring to criticize him?
Miller would eventually admit he was wrong, as it was later found the bust hadn’t been moved. Instead of being removed from the office, it was simply being obstructed by a door. But instead of attempting to verify the removal or follow up with someone in the White House, another hair trigger reporter jumped the gun and fired a news story that turned out false.
Is it any surprise that President Trump attacks the mainstream media?
However, the question still remains: is the mainstream media an enemy of the American people?
Fake News has incredible implications and the potential for real-world consequences. Journalists seem to live in an arrogant bubble, believing their false stories cause no harm. Zeke Miller’s quick story and subsequent retraction is the rule, not the exception. False stories about threatening to invade Mexico could escalate tensions and heighten partisan conflict, as politicians often jump on stories before they’re verified.
The mainstream media has a responsibility to do a thorough, respectable job of presenting the news objectively – they have also failed at this responsibility. Does this make them the enemy of the people? It’s a complicated question, but they certainly are not an ally of the people. Until networks set a higher standard and journalists start being responsible reporters again, they will be nothing more than click bait writers and propagandists.