Unpresidented disrespect: Trump vs. the media

Illustration by Karly Andersen.

Margaretta Sackor

Contributing Writer

Journalism is my passion. However, it is not the most popular field. In my career, I am prepared to experience resistance and resentment from those in positions of power because my job is to tell the truth — and ultimately be an enemy of “the man.”

What I can’t tolerate is having a president who openly wants to suppress the freedom of the press. As an up-and-coming immigrant journalist in America, I’m scared for my safety under the Trump administration.

Journalists have been shamed and treated like disobedient children for criticizing anything President Donald Trump does. Reporters aren’t allowed to question him on his apparent racist behavior. If they dare, false statistics are rubbed in their faces.

Past presidents recognized the important role journalists play. Former President Barack Obama spoke on the significance of free press and how democracy cannot run without it. The press is the one thing that holds government officials accountable and motivates Americans to act on issues.  

Without a free press, democracy is lost. Our country’s leader looks for every opportunity to bash journalists — including what he calls “Failing New York Times,” which actually gained 308,000 new digital subscribers in the quarter immediately following the 2016 presidential election.

Trump is constantly attacking the media and calling it “fake news,” but he is using those “fake news” outlets to further his agenda. He claims to have a 36 percent popularity among African-Americans, but his approval rate is only 8 percent according to a Quinnipiac University poll. During a press conference, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed Trump tripled the number of jobs for African-Americans than the Obama administration did.

However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Obama recreated 300 million jobs for African-Americans and decreased unemployment from 12.7 to 7.8 percent. There is so much anti-media propaganda for every credible news outlet that dares to criticize President Trump. Unless you are Fox News, you can bet he will call you a “liar” and deem your reporting “fake news.”

Trump also openly targets female journalists in order to feel superior as a male in power, telling them to “sit down” and treating them as if they’re not smart enough. During a September press conference, he refused to call on any woman journalist until CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta asked him to — and even then, he interrupted the female journalist constantly.  

His blunt abuse of his power doesn’t stop at female journalists. No. He attacks males too. He attacks anyone and everyone who disagrees with him.

Take the recent press conference after the mid-elections when Trump accused PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor of asking a “racist question” and continued to bash her when she asked about his self-professed nationalist status. Trump also went back and forth with Acosta in another press conference, sparking a heated exchange about his immigration policies and his take on the migrant caravan.

Following this conference, the White House revoked Acosta’s press pass. This is one instance of the war being waged against journalists for simply doing their job — it’s as if Trump is trying to take away the freedom of the press and dismantle the very constitution which America claims to live by.

 

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