Trump's practice of ripping all journalists is dangerous
At the big rally in Topeka recently at the Kansas Expocentre, attended by more than 11,000 people, mostly Kansans, we learned in person what it felt like when President Donald Trump references “the news media’’ – like he does on TV - as the perpetuators of “fake news’’ and untruths.
We were on a stage at the opposite end of President Trump’s stage, on the ground floor, grouped with all of the other print, TV and radio reporters and photographers.
In this group of journalists (from publications, TV stations and radio stations big and small), the nationally broadcasted TV commentators from CNN and the editorial writers for The New York Times and The Washington Post and other national news commentators that President Trump often feuds with were nowhere to be found.
Like he always does, President Trump lumped everyone in the news business in the same derogatory category, regardless of whether we have ever written or talked negatively about him or his administration. President Trump pointed to where we were watching the rally, called us all “the fake news’’ and then everyone in the Expocentre turned around and booed and hissed at us like we were exhibits at a zoo. In a sense, that is exactly what we were.
I have been a community journalist for 38 years, and at the Trump rally in Topeka, I felt that I might be in imminent danger just because I was a journalist. I have never had that feeling before.
If I could talk to the President, I would tell him that it is not fair to lump everyone he disagrees with in the news businss in the same category. If I could, I would tell the President directly that when he reads or hears untruths about him or his administration, he needs to utilize journalists to inform U.S. citizens just exactly what the untruths are and just exactly who or what is spreading the untruths. To not address the exact story and the exact news source that he disputes is just laziness.
If the President continues his blanket condemnation of all journalists – instead of just the ones he has a problem with – some innocent, hard-working people (the kind of people that President Trump says are his kind of people) are going to get hurt, maybe even killed one of these days.
No one can dispute the many positive things that the President has been able to achieve for the country, so far. These achievements make me believe that, if he wants to, he can successfully use the same skills to dispel specific untruths when they are lodged against him.
My suggestion for all citizens, until the President learns how to be more specific with his criticism of journalists, is to just substitute the words “bad news’’ every time he says “fake news.’’ Clearly, the only news that the President is calling “fake’’ is the news that somehow – in his mind – makes him look bad.
I will be the first one to agree that some of the opinions voiced on TV are just plain lies and untruths. The President and all U.S. journalists need to be held to higher standards. Where I come from, we respect the office of the President, In return, we expect the President to adhere to the discipline and manners befitting the office.
I can guarantee you that 99.9 percent of all professional journalists strive to report the news fairly, accurately and objectively and take great pride in that.