Art by Sybil Zhang
Journalists have played an important role in politics for centuries. However, in his first couple of days in office President Donald Trump has declared a war on journalists and the media, according to Julian Zelizer’s article, “President Trump’s dangerous war on the media,” published Jan. 25 by CNN. With so much opposition already on Trump’s plate, the opposition to journalists certainly is not a favorable start to his time as president. Instead of attempting to work alongside journalists to encourage the proper spread of information, the Trump administration already wants to bash and oppose them.
Trump has already begun treating the press as an “opposition party,” according to Brian Stelter’s article, “Is Trump White House preparing to treat press as ‘opposition party’?” published Jan. 16 by CNN.
Trump made his opposition to journalists known during his campaign trail, but Trump’s strategist Stephen Bannon said, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while…They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States,” according to Michael M. Grynbaum’s article, “Trump Strategist Stephen Bannon Says Media Should ‘Keep Its Mouth Shut’,” published Jan. 26 by The New York Times. As a journalist, this comment is especially hurtful and incorrect, because any journalist knows that their job is so much more crucial to democracy than exposing people’s secrets and dirt.
It is abysmal for Trump to think that he could silence the media. Journalists have an extremely important job to do in our world, and this job does not and should not change just because the new President does not condone what they do. It seems that President Trump wants to change everything that does not please him in the early days of his time as President, however, journalists have a much longer standing in society than President Trump, himself, does.
The issue is not that journalists do not understand why Donald Trump is the President of the United States; it’s the opposite. Journalists wish to accurately and consistently report the news, and it is important to do so now more than ever with a new president in office.
In the past, President Donald Trump has said and done things that are less than commendable. These actions have obviously been reported on by journalists, like his degrading words about women, which Trump has been unhappy about. In Trump’s eyes, getting rid of journalists would make him and his actions more palatable to the general public. That is not how journalism works.
The Trump administration continues to blame journalists for a multitude of things, including the rigging of the voting in the election. However, they will not take steps to work alongside journalists or to create a partnership. These steps could include Trump really learning what the goal of journalists’ work is and learning how journalists work in the world. With this idea being said, Trump would realize what truly goes into the work of a journalist and hopefully be able to be less-aggressive and demeaning towards them.
In addition, Bannon said, “the elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” which is another example of the Trump administration’s misunderstanding of the media’s purpose. Comments like this one make it seem as though the Trump administration will never be willing to work alongside journalists. These comments demonstrate regression and do not show evidence of the Trump administration taking steps forward to work alongside journalists in harmony or in a mature manner.
Journalists play an extremely important role in our world today. They serve to get information out, cover events, provide feedback and inform the public. A president who opposes these actions truly opposes what it means to be an informed citizen.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @bb__em