Showdown - Trump vs The Media 🥊

Rob Kim/Getty Images

Rob Kim/Getty Images

Spilling the beans

On Sunday, President Trump revealed an off-the-record meeting with The New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. Trump claimed that the meeting entailed an acknowledgment of the media as “Fake News” and “Enemy of the People”. He then labeled the media as unpatriotic and irresponsible. Sulzberger released a statement asking Trump to cease his anti-press rhetoric as it risks journalists’ lives and undermines freedom of the press.

Recent spars

Sulzberger and Trump’s public debate comes as the Trump administration increasingly finds itself at odds with the media. During a recent speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Trump berated Democrats and warned attendees not to “believe the crap you hear from these people--the fake news.” It also comes after Trump banned a CNN reporter from covering a presidential event, drawing bipartisan criticism.

The right focuses on Sulzberger’s statement. They dismiss his claims against Trump as exaggerated and call out his lack of evidence and vague allegations. They condemn claims of Trump instigating violence against journalists as unfair victimization and a product of the left media’s vilification of the president. They fear that liberally-biased media not only sensationalizes journalism beyond fact but also jeopardizes public respect. On the other hand, they defend Trump as fully within his free speech rights to criticize the NYT. 

The left focuses more on Trump’s anti-press tweets. They fear that anti-press belligerence coming from one of the world’s most powerful leaders endangers freedom of press and journalists themselves; they cite the Capital Gazette shooting as an example of assault against the press. They argue that Trump’s pleas for “accurate reporting” are really a request for the media to champion Trump’s perceived achievements.

This isn't new

Some current attitudes towards the US press are similar to those in Germany a few years ago. The anti-immigration movement Pegida, led by alt-right Germans, popularized the slogan “lying press” and eventually led to violence against journalists. In the US, the president may be the one enabling this environment. Throughout Trump’s presidency, the left-leaning media has been quick to call out the Trump administration. However, disparaging the media as the enemy may do more harm to the US’s global image and international standard of upholding freedom.

There are more of these on the internet than you can imagine



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