When I was younger I would sit down and watch the news with my grandparents. I would listen to what was happening in the world and observe the ways in which everyone’s stories were told. I would try to understand the inner workings of the media and make sense of the ways in which it relates to, protects, and displays the democracy, that is, our country. I listened to what my grandparents had to say, too. As we switched from outlet to outlet and discussed our responses to certain ones, I learned that one of the most important aspects of the news was its truthfulness and objectivity. Through these experiences I also learned that I wanted to become a journalist one day.
One of the greatest values of our country is the liberty aligned with it, one of those being the freedom of the press. As an aspiring journalist for most of my life this idea of reporting on truthful and important content without obstacles excited me. But recently, we’ve seen this right, and respected journalistic standards, become disregarded.
As of late, Donald Trump has banned major and prestigious news outlets, The New York Times and CNN to name a few of the major ones, from getting a White House briefing while allowing certain hand-picked outlets inside. This is just the most recent backlash Trump has had on the media, and one of the most formal attacks he’s had. Most of his other retaliations have been less powerful, but no less impactful. Many tweets put out by the president have called press outlets, “failing,” and “fake.” He has gone on to directly call out major outlets such as the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN by referring to them as “the enemy of the American people.”
Standing up to dishonest, biased, and skewed media outlets is definitely a job that should be done. The fact here, though, is that the outlets Trump is calling out have been primarily reporting factual events. The twist is that these facts and reports are not in favor of President Trump and his administration.
Journalists are working hard to uncover the truth and to get the word out to the American people; together they are the pillar of our democracy. And despite this critical work, they’re being undermined. As I work towards a degree and a future career in journalism, it saddens me to see that cycle. It’s frustrating to know that even if you’re doing the best you can, and living up to and abiding by the standards that are presented to you, someone with power can still discredit you.
It’s also painful to see that a lot of the outlets Trump favors are actually— and ironically— all of the things he claims the so-called “FAKE NEWS” to be: biased, skewed, manipulative, and in many cases, liars.
But one of the biggest concerns that comes from Trump’s allegations on powerful and hard-hitting journalists is the impact it will have, and is currently having. People are uneducated as it is about finding reliable and trustworthy news sources, so being misled by such a powerful figure can have lasting-effects on what future readers choose to read, as well as how relevant hardworking journalists will be in the future.
My thoughts remain fearful as I know in just a few short years I will be jumping into the journalism field, still under Trump’s administration. Will I be able to report on hard hitting and important news? Will I be able to tell the truth without being reprimanded because it doesn’t fit a certain view?
Among these feelings, though, I also have an overwhelming feeling that change needs to happen. And from experience and historical context, I know that these overwhelming feelings can truly cause waves, and can make differences that last for generations. As an aspiring journalist during Trump’s war on the media, I am inspired and am ready to make that difference, so to make sure that journalistic standards aren’t overlooked by power and misguidance any longer.