Another day, another attack from the President on the news media. But we cannot become inured to this.
It can’t be this is just Trump being Trump. Why, after all this time, does he still feel the need to lash out? Because reporters keep digging and reporting truths that tarnish or completely undercut the fiction he is peddling.
Nothing to see on the border? The New York Times has a smashing front page story well resourced and reported that paints a very different picture.
Standing strong on the global stage? Reporting from his recent forays suggest otherwise.
No collusion no obstruction? Not true in the slightest.
And on and on…
Trump’s most recent tweet tantrum even had Fox News in his sites, as well as the usual targets of the other cable networks and the New York Times. Why? Because Fox in their weekend coverage had the temerity to not sufficiently bathe in his cult of personality.
Coursing through President Trump’s attacks is the outrageous notion that there is some form of media conspiracy. Now conspiracy paranoia fuels much of his rhetoric, but this one is especially damaging and devoid of any basis in fact. As someone who has worked in news for over six decades, the idea that various entities are working in unison is laughable. What’s happening is they are trying to reflect the world as it is in its reality. And the consensus they are finding is jarring when compared to his fairy tales.
The danger is that we see President Trump’s vicious and authoritarian attacks on the press as just another feature of his presidency. This is a malignancy striking at the very heart of our democracy. The First Amendment, with its press freedoms, is not a disposable anachronistic whim from the Founding Fathers. It is a realization that power needs to be checked, from outside government as well as from inside. And that truth is more prescient today than it’s ever been.
I hope the American people continue to support the best of journalism. Buy subscriptions, especially to local papers. This week saw another casualty with the loss of the local paper in Youngstown, Ohio. Take the time to read and share deep, thoughtful investigations and other forms of reporting.
When the president says “fake news” and “nothing to see here” show him that the truth, as with so much with this administration, is the exact opposite.