The following is the first in a series of blogs for a journalism course I’m taking called “Independent Media – Issues and Challenges.”
Throughout Trump’s campaign his supporters have celebrated his ability to upset Washington, “drain the swamp”, and generally reject what we’ve come to know as the norm in regards to every aspect of the government. Prior to his election there were signs that one of the ways he intended on being different was his treatment of the press. From mocking a disabled reporter, to ranting about how libel laws should be heavily reinforced, to rejecting questions from CNN after a news leak, to the creation of the now popular term “fake news,” it appears this is a problem that Trump will not forgive any time soon.
To have a president who wants to do away with the freedoms granted to the press is an incredibly dangerous thing. Those who constantly complain and gripe about fake news and then continue to complain about mainstream media do not understand how the journalism world works. Punishing publications for posting controversial content, while in cases of actual libel are appropriate, create more problems than they solve. Without credible news, what is there?
It’s frightening to imagine the implications of an America that has done away with an industry that has existed for centuries. However, it is the direction reality seems to be leaning in. One where all news is found on one’s Facebook or Twitter feed laced with “alternative facts” and finger-pointing instead of actual digging into the real issues.
Modern-day journalism appears to be a constant battle against being labeled “fake news” by President Trump. The problem then becomes how is it possible to consistently prove oneself as both a reputable journalist and trusted publication, especially those that are left-leaning? The answer seems to change with every day, but one thing that remains consistent is publications are not backing down no matter what Trump tweets or whether Stephen Bannon tells the media to “keep its mouth shut.” That appears to be the first step to what will undeniably be a rough road ahead for all media.