BY RILEY FANNING
America has spent a month with its newest administration, and President Trump’s longstanding war with the mainstream media rages on. Over and over again the newly coined phrase “fake news” reverberates out from the president’s tweets and comments during his public appearances. The Trump administration is attempting to completely delegitimize journalism in general, and only promote media that supports Trump’s point of view—whether that media source uses facts or not.
There is no doubt that there is a fake news problem that circulates through media—you can scroll through Facebook and see droves of ridiculous articles linked from unreliable websites. It goes even deeper than that, when rumors are reported as facts by supposedly reputable sources. This is the catch of having news so readily available to the general public through social media.
But to abandon the mainstream media as a wholly untrue platform is dangerous. If we supposedly cannot trust any of the articles we read or the news reports we watch, then the question arises of how people will be informed.
According to Trump, we should look to him and his favorite “honest” news sources such as the conservative networks Fox News and Breitbart News. His Twitter account is littered with references to both networks, causing a strange web of untruths to cycle as reality.
So, we have a president watching biased media sources, believing everything he watches that goes along with what he wants to hear, and then sprinting to social media to declare it as fact.
One example of this is Trump’s ongoing claim that there were 3-5 million illegal votes in the election, something he came to believe through watching media coverage of the rumor. Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted that “it is a belief he maintains” despite the fact that there are no studies or facts to back up the claim.
The president has experts, advisers and intelligence agencies he should look to for truth, yet he is relying on inaccurate cable news instead. The hypocrisy of denouncing liberal media as fake news, and then only getting his information from unverified, unproven far-right news reports is astounding.
The war on media being perpetuated is a tool for the domination of Trump’s narrative. Trump has blatantly lied and misconstrued truth multiple times since swearing into office, and this only gets easier for him to do if the media reporting on it is delegitimized. If all news against Trump is apparently fake news, propaganda is what remains.
Media is not perfect, and should definitely be questioned. Nothing should be taken as absolute truth without facts to back it up. This includes media coverage of Trump, good or bad. Brushing off all journalism as fake, however, is only a pathway to ignorance prevailing.