Enemy of the People?

51% of Republicans now think that the “news media is an enemy of the people”. This is a very dangerous opinion to hold and it’s all I can find myself thinking about this morning.

Nearly 350 news organisations published editorials today that defended the freedom of the press. Given the results of some recent polling, it appears as though now was the right time to do so. They blame Trump’s constant attacks on the “fake news media” as the reason for the mistrust, and I can’t deny that his mouth is the most likely cause.

Any rational person knows by now that Trump brands any story he doesn’t like as “fake news” — the facts don’t matter to him personally. Fox News Entertainment regularly pumps out opinion pieces and skewed statistics in favour of Trump, yet for some reason he never seems to brand these as “fake”.

I’m not saying that CNN and some other outlets aren’t guilty of putting an anti-Trump spin on things, but the danger lies with branding ALL negative Trump pieces as “fake news”. The facts, as best presented to us, don’t always support our personal bias, and we need to be okay with that.

For example, I know that Trump is currently polling well with the people who voted for him originally. I’ve seen some left-leaning news sources claim that it’s fallen, just because it’s dropped by an average of 2% over the last six months. Unbiased news outlets and individuals are saying that he’s just as popular, because he essentially is.

I also know that he’s just as unpopular with people who identify as Democrats as he has ever been; No change there. The “triggering” of the left via hard-right policy is what got Republicans to show up to the voting booths in the first place.

What’s interesting is that his approval rating among moderates and independents has steadily fallen over his presidency. The alarming thing for me is that when this is reported by an unbiased media outlet, its declared as “fake news”.

A democracy cannot exist without an informed electorate, and that means a variety of sources. Unless they did some Alex Jones-levels of stupidity, I would never call for Fox to be taken off the air. It’s providing a hard-conservative voice for people to listen to, and it’s their right if that’s the voice they want to hear.

Equally though, outlets that openly criticise Trump beyond what the facts (and the man himself) tell us — they also need to exist. Personally I prefer getting my news from a variety of outlets, so I don’t just become a vocal puppet for that particular organisation, but I know not everyone feels the same.

enemyofthepeople

When Trump says things like the “failing print media” and “failing cable news television” he’s absolutely right — those mediums are nowhere near as profitable as they were ten or twenty years ago. Only, journalism isn’t failing, it’s simply adapted to a new form. Trump just wants his voters to believe that the medium of “journalism” is dead.

Through advertisers and subscribers, strong and decent news outlets continue to exist online. Good journalism is being done every day, by good people who just want to present the events of the day, as accurately as possible, to the American people. The best journalists keep their personal bias out of articles, but if Trump says something offensive it’s their duty to report it.

The 51% of Republicans who go as far as to say that the news media is “the enemy of the people”, a phrase thrown around by President Trump no less — which the fact that they’re willing to parrot him on such an extreme opinion is terrifying in its own right — those Republicans probably couldn’t imagine a world without the news media.

Let me try and help you out — although I doubt you’re one of the people who’re reading my morning warm-up blogs.

If the news media is the “enemy of the people” that means ALL news media is. Therefore — in a world without news — you’d either be completely in the dark about what the government is doing, or you’d be listening to a government-sponsored voice. For the sake of hyperbole, lets say that Trump has appointed his “good friend” Alex Jones as the face of this tax-funded, daily news broadcast; Available on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.

alexjonesmad

“Good morning patriots! It’s another brilliant morning in these Great United States. The lizard-people journalists are no longer allowed to peddle you fake news and stuff. So now you good people can hear the voice of God directly! Beamed straight into your ears via government-owned satellites.”

“You may see on the twisted social-media that several people are dead in a mass-shooting — but don’t — you — believe — these — lies, okay? President Trump keeps a safe America, he keeps a better America — okay? Gun violence is a non-issue in this country and thanks to the banning of all private and publicly owned media companies we don’t — have — to — talk — about — it — anymore! Remember to visit the NRA website to renew your subscription today, before Obama can take — your — guns!”

“In real news, let me tell you how it is folks — I can not even express how well President Trump is doing, but God damn-it I’ll try. His approval rating is the highest in history, and wow — what a story. Everyone in this country has a job — okay? That’s the truth people, you can hear it now.”

“Now finally, the really important thing you have to know today folks is that if you hear someone talking — if you hear them so much as whisper that the words in this broadcast aren’t true — well I’m calling you to action right now patriots. I want you to take your rifle and shoot them in the street — shoot them where they mother-f***ing stand!”

“Have a great day America, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

A free press is a key element of a strong democracy, in my opinion. It’s how we receive the raw facts of what’s happening in the world, along with a variety of opinions. We then take this data into debates, discussions and conversations — in an attempt to make sense of the madness of it all. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest thing we have to complete free-will and choice in the delicate system of society.

Branding news media as “the enemy of the people”, means that 51% of Republicans — Around 17% of the country — would rather words like the above paragraphs were broadcast into our homes each day, instead of the freedom and choice to consume a variety of sources.

And that, my friends, is just one of the reasons I have anxiety dreams every night.


Today is Thursday, August 16th and I’m around 2-3 weeks away from finishing the first draft of my YA dystopian novel!


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If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

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8 thoughts on “Enemy of the People?

  1. This is terrific! I understand your point. What you say is accurate. If we want free speech in journalism, we have to accept both sides of that coin. In addition, I’m frustrated with the lies and misleading exaggerations from both sides of this. It becomes increasingly difficult to sort through the harsh lean both sides seem compelled to present as fact. In this era, many are too lazy or complacent to do the work to differentiate between fact, fiction, and grossly exaggerated bias. They’ll just hear and accept what they choose to, whichever narrative best suits their own agenda.
    It’s frustrating to consistently have to filter everything through 25 filters, though.

    And it’s also terrifying to ponder the possibilities of your all too realistic mock news broadcast being blindly taken as fact by groups of people who simply choose to believe every spoon-fed lie they’re offered.

    I also don’t want to be spoon-fed lies against the POTUS any more than I want to be fed lies in his favor, but I suppose I can see some value in utilizing fire to fight fire for some semblance of “balance”? To be honest, I’m unsure of it all…

    Truth has become a solitary needle in countless haystacks of motive-driven deceptive propaganda. What is the resolution? Is there any chance our media will ever return to a genuinely more balanced effort toward truth after this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said!
      It’s so hard to predict what will come after this. If people take a stand against true fake-news, and then defend any kind of journalism no matter which side it comes from – then we stand a chance to return to the norm.

      But given how some people are defending InfoWars as a legit news source I think it might be too late for certain pockets of society.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope beyond hope for the day when I might feel confident enough again in a news source to not have to spend an hour after reading it, vetting through alternate opposing sources to try to get to what really is the truth.

    However, there’s one thing I’ve learned from personal experience which prompts me to fear it can never return to the baseline of truth and integrity I once believed most journalism represented:

    After the hysteria and shock value of shrieking lies and gross exaggerations, the actual truth often becomes nothing but a boring little whisper- far, FAR less sensational and attention-grabbing than its opposite. I’ve experienced how true that is first hand. Sensational, hysterical lies of what we desperately want to believe far outweigh truths which are usually a mixed bag of what we want and don’t want to believe.
    And this is what concerns me that we can never really get back to the baseline of the whispers of simple truth and baseline integrity.
    It’ll never render the same level of attention as fake-news info wars and ultimately attention is what pays the media’s bills, per se. 😉

    I’m still vetting though and vehemently hoping I’m mistaken about this…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quick question: are publicly-funded outlets like NPR or PBS also being labelled as “fake news”?
    Here in Australia, we have a lot of (very vocal) commentators suggest our ABC (and even the BBC) have a left-wing mantra, and I’m wondering whether it’s the same where you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NPR definitely are, they are slightly left leaning in some podcasts but very down the middle online and in general news updates.
      I’m originally from the UK and grew up with the BBC being called bias by people on both the left and right (claiming bias for the other side) Personally I think a news outlet is down the middle if people on both sides think it’s bias.
      It’s just the right wing tactic at the moment to call out “fake news” for anything that’s centre, centre-left or left.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing article man!!! I agree that there is a bias problem with our news today, yet our president shouldn’t label all news as “fake” as you have described. Maybe our country needs to take a step back and think some things through about our media outlets to prevent these biases from occurring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you there. I also think that “media literacy” should be taught in schools to protect the next generation. It wouldn’t be about teaching a correct opinion, but rather how to spot well-researched journalism vs an opinion piece or conspiracy theory.

      Liked by 1 person

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