President Donald J. Trump doesn’t scare me as an aspiring journalist, but he makes me angry.
He has already claimed that news organizations are his enemy, and the enemy of the American people, too.
The idea of the media as the enemy of the average American has seeped into the field of student journalism, according to the article “Student Journalists Are Under Threat” on Slate.com, makes me even more furious than I already was.
With Trump’s attacks on general news conglomerates that he said hadn’t treated him fairly, I could at least see why he thought that, even if I didn’t agree with it. But constantly antagonizing them is exhausting.
Rebecca Schuman, author of the Slate article, said that there has been a “[…] disquieting trend of administrative censorship of student-run media….spreading quietly across the country, quietly, of course, because according to the report, those censorship efforts have so far been successful.”
All of this information came to light according to a report by the American Association of University Professors, along with three other “nonpartisan free-speech advocacy organizations,” according to Schuman’s article.
Although this idea of the press being the enemy of the American people might not have been entirely new historically, it certainly is unprecedented in modern history, with regards to television and film, according to assistant professor of communications Ryan Medders.
“This sets up a dangerous precedent that can affect how other parts of society views the media,” Medders said. “I think the closest we’ve had, historically, to someone who’s been this hostile to the media and the White House was probably President Richard Nixon. But Nixon never made these comments, like [Trump’s declaration of war on the media] out loud, in front of cameras and to the American people.”
Arizona Senator John McCain at the Munich Security Council, said fascists love to suppress the free media as one their first acts when taking power.
While this statement is not anything out of the ordinary for McCain, who has been very much against Trump as of late, it is fascinating to see that not all conservatives share Trump’s thoughts on the media and the free press.
The Gaurdian even reported a quote from McCain saying that while he hated the press, he beleived that the press is needed and that they must be kept around.
Russell Stockard, professor of communications, also talked about McCain’s quote from the Munich Security Council, and what it meant to him regarding Trump.
“The media has an obligation to serve as a watchdog for all kinds of institutions, but particularly for government,” Stockard said. “So the media aren’t there to be the lapdog of anybody in government.”
Trump doesn’t seem to get that the media isn’t supposed to be his friend, or only write puff pieces about him. They’re supposed to find the truth, even if it isn’t the truth he wants to hear.
I know I will continue to pursue the truth as a student journalist. So no, I’m not scared of you Mr. President. I pity you.