A quick Google search or a peek at President Donald Trump’s Twitter page shows that throughout his campaign, election, and post-election activities, Trump has been involved in an ongoing battle with the United States press.
Most recently, he yelled at a CNN reporter at his first press conference as president-elect, venomously asserting that the reporter and his establishment were “fake news.” Trump has been a vocal opponent of a number of media outlets and their staffs for over a year and a half now.
Megyn Kelly, an MSNBC anchor who formerly worked for FOX News, was one of Trump’s biggest targets, which resulted in threats against Kelly by Trump, as she explained months later.
The President’s interactions with the press are not only juvenile, but are setting a dangerous precedent of behavior for incoming presidents and other politicians alike.
The freedom of the press is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and as President, Trump is sworn to protect the Constitution. However, it’s difficult to believe that he respects the media’s freedom when he insults people in the industry, but it’s almost impossible to believe it when he accuses the press of lying and slandering him, or when he refuses to answer difficult questions.
The media, too, is obligated to tell the truth in news stories, but the cases of the media actually lying about Trump’s words and actions are few and far between.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager, said in early January that citizens need to pay less attention to “what comes out of his mouth” and pay more attention to “what’s in his heart.”
What Conway and Trump apparently fail to realize is that the things that come out of Trump’s mouth are the basis of most stories. If the President had any sort of filter, he’d be seeing a lot fewer articles that paint him in a negative light. After all, it isn’t the articles that are making him look bad: it’s Trump himself.
Trump has a duty to respectfully deal with the media, just as the media should respectfully deal with him. In our democracy, the media can be a great ally or a terrible enemy. It has the potential to showcase all the wonderful things Trump will say and do, if he can actually manage to do them. Blaming the media for his low approval ratings and general unpopularity only fuels the fire for people to dislike him. Media personnel, on the other hand, need to be cautious when dealing with him. It is clearly difficult to not be ignited by Trump, but for all parties involved in this relationship, professionalism is key.