As a Journalism Student, I Am Terrified by the Trump Administration's Mistreatment of the Media

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

By Cassidy Fritz

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In the months and days leading up to and following Donald J. Trump’s presidency, it has become increasingly evident to me that the next four, possibly eight, years are not going to be kind to journalists. The Trump administration’s distasteful reaction to any sort of news that casts a spotlight on his fallacies, despite factuality, poses a clear and terrifying threat on democracy and the freedom of the press. We have watched as he went on a year long tirade attempting to tarnish the reputation of Fox’s Megyn Kelly. We have watched as he refused to take a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta at his first press conference as president and accused CNN of being “fake news.” We have watched as he stated that journalists were “among the most dishonest people on earth.” And most recently we watched Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, ridiculously accuse the media of falsely reporting on the size of the inaugural audience. Even further, Mr. Spicer declared a “running war” with the news media. What does all of this have in common? It is unprecedented backlash from a man with an ego that does not allow him to ignore criticism, and who has an alarming penchant for public retaliation. Donald Trump is not afraid to attack those he feels have wronged him or portrayed him in a negative light. He has always been an advocate for hitting anyone who has hit him ten times harder. His latest victim has been the media.

As an aspiring journalist and American citizen, it is incredibly disheartening to watch as the president of the United States, the most prominent and respected public figure in the country, constantly belittles the media. It is a journalist’s responsibility to report the facts with a wholehearted desire to tell the truth to the American people. How are we supposed to carry out such an important task with a president who is so quick to hop on Twitter and denounce a reporter or news organization if he feels a tiny bit offended? Trump’s fear-mongering tactics are a pathetic attempt to deter the media from reporting the facts, just like his request for the media to not use “unflattering” pictures of him (he especially hates that one that shows off his double chin).

Donald Trump’s success can easily be credited to a mass amount of media coverage. The man knows how to use and abuse the press. He only accepts news from outlets that praise him (he is notably fond of the Fox news channel–he reportedly exclusively watches Fox every morning to receive his news) and turns his back on those who shed light on his bad traits. It is scary to think that a misinformed public may begin to turn away from credible news sources due to misconceptions concocted by the president. Even scarier is the Trump administration’s recent dissemination of what presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway penned as “alternative facts,” referring to Spicer’s false claims that pictures of Trump’s inauguration were tampered with by the media to make the crowd appear smaller and that Trump drew the largest inauguration crowd in history. These statements were quickly proven to be falsehoods. The phrase “alternative facts” sparked a scary likening to George Orwell’s classic book 1984 about a totalitarian regime. “The Party told you to reject all evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” Orwell wrote. Do we really want to live in an America where our president is funneling lies to us without even blinking? Are we spiraling into a 1984-like world where we will be blind to everyday truths that so obviously surround us? How are we supposed to know what is the truth when our very own leader is predisposed to tell lies to the people in order to create an delusive image of himself? We don’t want alternative facts. We want the TRUTH. I can only hope that the media can uphold their obligation to the public to seek out the truth and dispel any and all “alternative facts” during Donald Trump’s presidency.