Last week, President Donald Trump tweeted at five mainstream news organizations claiming them to be fake news. In the President’s string of tweets he states, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people!”
The five news organizations these tweets were directed at were The New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS and CNN. Oddly enough, Fox News was excluded from this Twitter rant. However, this statement puts all news media organizations in a negative light.
As journalists, our job revolves around unveiling the truth and bringing news to the public’s attention. If the news is being truthfully reported and reflects negatively on the President, it doesn’t mean it’s fake news. It’s not fair to label all news media as an enemy of the people when the people are who the media are actually serving. We work for the people, and if in doing so while reporting the facts, the President puts themselves or the country in a poor situation, we are to duly take note of that. The same goes for when the President does well for themselves or the country.
What makes the words in these tweets so impactful is that they aren’t just coming from a regular citizen. These are public remarks being spewed across the internet for the public’s eyes to scroll through. These are remarks made by the most prominent figure in our country at the moment. The man who has been entrusted with the duties of The President of The United States. With 25.4 million Twitter followers on a public Twitter account, these messages reached the eyes of many, even before the news organizations had a chance to report on it.
For a President to call out and label journalists as a whole to be an “enemy of the people,” the people may actually then believe his false and unwarranted complaints via twitter to be the truth. We at The Equinox know all too well that words have consequences behind them. However, these consequences hold an entirely greater level of severity when coming from the President. It’s comments like these that incite others to act out, and the last thing we need during this time is for our President to intentionally discredit the media.
The term “enemy” invokes a sense of opposition where sides are to be taken. We shouldn’t have to fight a war just to put forward truthful accounts of what the President is pursuing It’s the people’s right to know and the journalist’s job to inform. If the information doesn’t please the President, it shouldn’t be discarded as a fake tabloid.
We at The Equinox take into account that yes, sometimes news organizations may publish a piece that has some bias within it. Is that okay? No. Does it happen? Yes. Why? Because we journalists are humans as well. As in any field or industry, there are going to be some who perform better and more honestly than others. That’s just how things go. However, we as journalists come to terms with and acknowledge our mistakes and seek to correct them. Just as there are good cops and bad cops, we can’t label all news media to be the enemy when there may only be a handful of journalists intentionally conducting themselves unethically.
We at The Equinox have a staff of over 70 journalists who report for us throughout the duration of the academic year. Our staff doesn’t report to please those people in which the story is about. They report to bring forth and inform others with a truthful account of the situation at hand. The Equinox is no enemy to you, nor are any of the other media outlets spread across our country. Perhaps, the one who aims at dictating what you believe is the one to fear.