By: Devin Fussa
Luckily, the Heritage Herald Newspaper has not yet incurred the full wrath of the White House. I suppose that might seem a ridiculous notion, but in modern times, one is never quite sure where the crosshairs of the oval office will land. Having declared a (somewhat) metaphorical war on various media outlets, President Donald Trump and his fellow staff members have embarked on a remarkable struggle – a battle against television, newspapers, and radio. This struggle will not be resolved with weaponry and treaties, but rather with words and press passes.
Politics have long dominated the news, as media outlets flock towards government activity like bees to honey. Each of these sources represent the news in a variety of ways, often sharing their own biases for their targeted audience; Fox is historically conservative and MSNBC is historically liberal, for example. But this is not merely an issue of politics. This is an issue of the media versus the White House, a scenario that is bizarre by any precedent.
Whether or not you believe in President Trump, it is impossible to deny that this situation is unique. “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election,” declared Trump on February 6, 2017. He and his staff have often lashed out at news sources, particularly those aligned with the left, in an attempt to seemingly delegitimize the media. This dismissal of the media suggests an uncomfortable paradox: either the president and his staff truly believe the American media lies to the public, or the president and his staff purposefully attack their critics to fool the public, therein playing the role of the liar themselves.
The conflict between the Presidential administration and the media is a new spectacle, but one that has developed rapidly. President Trump has gone as far as to threaten the removal of the press briefing room from the White House entirely, a room that has been of great use for more than forty-four years. The American public, standing on the sideline while this awkward, unnecessary battle is waged, has been given the responsibility to discern their own opinions.
And as was stated earlier, many news outlets have their clear biases; people tend to watch and read what aligns with their views. The White House does not have this luxury of choice. It cannot delegitimize the media, however opinionated, critical, or approving it may be. By that logic, maybe the Atlanta Falcons fans should imagine that the Patriots really lost the Superbowl. Because the outcome was a negative experience for their organization, ESPN must have lied about the score! The White House cannot decide which media sources are accurate, because American news represents the whole of the American population, along with all of its varying views. News may be presented with a variation of biases, but fact will always trump fiction. There will be praise and there will be uproar, as is the nature of the democratic system; President Trump and his cabinet must accept that idea.
Take the New York Times, for example. It is difficult to believe that the renowned newspaper, “[Has been] …wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!” Even more disputable, is the fact that the New York Times is “failing.” Contrary to these statements regarding the Times, the paper announced a record number of three million subscribers just last week. And according to a recent interview with Chief Strategist Steve Bannon by the Times, the media is now the “opposition party”.
The White House cannot dismiss the media when suitable, or else why would the media exist? The media is not for the convenience of the government, offering nothing but smiles and appreciation. It represents every man, every woman, every American, each of whom deserve nothing but the truth. The media is an age old-establishment, and any attempt to uproot it’s being should be viewed with deep concern.