The last two weeks have been rough. They have been really really rough. Trump has imposed the travel began, ordered the construction of the wall, appointed a Secretary of Education who favors “for-profit” charter schools, cozied up to Russia and signed more “law and order” executive actions. The list could keep going.
I actually think the press has not done too terrible of a job covering these stories. Of course, there has been a lot of “covering the drama” and talking about political issues as a game. Yet I have also seen a number of decent articles covering why Betsy DeVos would be harmful for public education and telling the stories of people who were most affected by the travel ban or deportation policies. In fact, the actual text of the executive orders was available to read on several news outlets. In this way, at least, the press has made some minimal attempts to cover the dangers of what might be coming and who will be most affected.
Yet, there are still some significant problems with how the media covers Trump and his administration. There has been far too much coverage of “lying” and absurd accusations by the Trump administration. I know that might sound like an insane statement to write. I’m not saying that we should not correct Trump on his facts. What I am saying is that there is no need to obsess over it. Covering Trump and his rhetoric, instead of covering the dangerous things that Trump has done, is a dangerous mistake. To be frank, it does not actually matter how many people went to Trump’s inauguration. What does it matter is how many people Trump will be deporting and how many families are torn apart.
The truth is that people who believe what Trump says about the inauguration numbers or CNN being fake news are not going to be convinced otherwise by the press. The media has already lost total legitimacy on these issues for them. It is a lot harder, however, to look away from testimonials from people who have been affected by these policies or coverage of protests erupting around the country. Sometimes the media just feeds into the “aura” of Trump. They feed into his bravado, lying, and “superhuman” personality. Trump is not dangerous because he is an epiphany on the political landscape, although it has added to his success. Trump is dangerous because he is going to destroy people’s lives. Political issues are extremely serious. People’s livelihood and lives depend on them. It is unfortunate if the press is not up to the task.
The press needs to look in the mirror. Trump became President with help from the media, whether it was endless interviews or covering Trump’s personality faults as if they were somehow more important than his dangerous policies. The major outlets and networks need to change how they see Trump. Evaluate him on how his agenda hurts this country or the rest of the world, not on whatever ridiculous mess comes out of Sean Spicer’s mouth. Hold him to the fire over his hypocrisy with Russia. Show the images of the people whose lives have not improved in this country and will only get worse under a Trump administration when certain federal programs are cut.
Just like the past two weeks, the next four (or maybe eight) years are going to be scary. While there is no use in fear-mongering, a lot of bad may happen and a lot of resistance and protest will probably appear. It’s time for the major media outlets to step up and cover the people who are struggling and resisting during this time and let their stories shine out to the country and the world.
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