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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Trump and the media

The following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Clarion, its staff or the institution. If you would like to submit a response or an opinion piece of your own, please contact Editor in Chief Abby Petersen at [email protected].

Could the media’s treatment of Donald Trump mean the loss of journalistic objectivity?

By Samuel Krueger

This past February, I sat expectantly at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center waiting for President Trump to address myself and thousands of other young conservatives. I had waited in line for well over an hour, skipped breakfast and coffee, and essentially had to go through a makeshift airport security line in order to go to the bathroom – but I didn’t care. I was going to see Donald J. Trump for his first address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as president.

Security had been tight for the past day or so as they prepared for his arrival. Newbies to the presidential and vice presidential security detail like myself were so thrown off by the hustle and bustle that we barely noticed conservative stars like Sean Hannity, Charlie Kirk or the assorted governor or congressman, when they brushed by us in the hallways.

But even with all of the distractions of that weekend, one very disturbing thing stood out to me. In fact, this thing changed me from a reluctant and wary supporter of Donald Trump to a fairly avid one.

I am, of course, talking about the media’s treatment of the president.

As I waited in the conference room I watched as a man with press credentials handed out Russian flags with “Trump” written across them in bold letters. I told as many people as possible to grab one. I was witnessing fake news in the making and had to be a part of it. I had to see for myself if what President Trump was saying was true. The man handing them out was a Huffington Post employee. We know this because the same day an article was written condemning the flag waving and then when social media started going off about the fake news, the Huffington Post quickly wrote another article trying to justify their actions.

I cannot defend some of the things that Trump says, especially on his Twitter, but I can appreciate how he operates. Samuel Krueger

This was not the only indescretion of the media that happened that day. I sat to President Trump’s right, near one of the cordoned off press areas. As he spoke, I could hear reporters saying the most horrible things about the President. Most of the things they said I am unable to repeat in pleasant company.

That is not objective media.

It was not until that speech that I fully realized how President Trump was under assault by the media. I cannot defend some of the things that Trump says, especially on his Twitter, but I can appreciate how he operates. During his speeches, you feel a though he is speaking directly to you. He uses his social media in the same way.

After 8 years of Obama, the American people have become so desensitized to a big, overbearing government that an executive who circumvents the media  in order to be truly transparent is seen as unpresidential. We have learned to be okay with being kept in the dark.

The media has always played an important role in American public life and I believe that someday it will continue to do so. However, until that time comes, the American people have lost faith in the media after so many constant indiscretions. CNN bares a treasure trove of examples. Just recently three employees resigned after fabricating a Trump connection with Russia.

Other examples of stories about the president being pulled due to inaccurate and misleading headlines seem to be a weekly occurrence. Of course, this is just the edge of the slippery slope that began during the Bush years, as left-leaning media moguls began to oppose the war in Iraq.

During the Obama Years, Independents have lost a significant amount of trust in the mainstream media, the school and medium of communication for rampant progressivism.

One thing that I learned about the mainstream media is that they always bet against Donald Trump. Samuel Krueger

This is bad news for the Democratic party.

Most Americans will admit that the most popular media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC etc, have left leaning tendencies. But now many Americans believe that those tendencies are creeping into journalism as a practice.

Only time will tell how Trump’s presidency will play out. Like many Americans,  I am reluctant to accept the media’s narrative and tales of impending doom. One thing that I learned about the mainstream media is that they always bet against Donald Trump. But If I have learned anything over the past year and a half, it’s that you don’t bet against Donald Trump.

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    thesemicolonAug 22, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Hi Sam,

    It’s great that you had the opportunity to see what happens behind the stages at the CPAC. However, I fundamentally agree with your interpretation of the situation. Your argument is that the media is not treating the president objectively – as is his due (in your opinion).

    The media’s job is to report the facts, but it is also important to understand that no piece of news will ever be completely unbiased, as each individual brings to the table his or her own perspective. What a responsible news source MUST do is build a story based on facts and remain clear about its own biases.

    You take issue with the grumblings about the president going on in the press room and claim that the disrespect certain individuals working for media outlets show Trump disqualifies them from having a credible voice. I have several thoughts on this. For one, it is possible to deliver sound news even at a slant. It then becomes important to read several perspectives on the same story – for example, I typically read the NYT or the Economist for a centrist perspective, the Washington Post for a progressive take, and FOX or the Wall Street Journal to round it out. Second, criticism of the president (or any political entity!) is not unpatriotic. Freedom of the press, one of the cornerstones of our democracy, exists precisely as a check on those in power. (If what you want are encomiums to the president, look no further than North Korea.)

    The facts are, we have a president who has:
    – Encouraged “grab[bing] ’em [women] by the pussy”
    – Said, at his own rallies, “I’ll beat the crap out of you” and “Part of the problem is…no one wants to hurt each other anymore”
    – Said, about Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! Who would vote for that?”
    – Said, “You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write, as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass”

    I really could go on. Is it patriotic to respect a man who respects no one but himself? If some of the media find the president repulsive, that is their right. It doesn’t mean that they can’t report on the facts. What I find troubling in this situation is that Donald Trump has taught his supporters to believe that any criticism of him is by default “fake news.” So this is a question I would like to ask you: Do you believe that journalists should be able to report on any of Trump’s missteps? Should foreign and domestic news outlets be allowed to express outrage over the rule of Assad, which has been marked by slaughtering his own people, or of Putin, who basically re-annexed Crimea? The questions may not seem related to you, but I believe they are.

    The final thing I will say is that you clearly have a viewpoint, despite your critique of others’ viewpoints. This is fine. You are entitled to your voice, and you are entitled to post your thoughts in a public forum. Should the same not go for people who think differently from you?