When Kellyanne Conway says to CNN, “Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job.” It brings up the question: What does the Trump administration actually know about the role of the press?
A journalist’s job is to the public, serving as a watchdog to keep the people informed and safe. A journalist’s job is to call out the insane things that are said, and show the people that one person’s words are not to overpower the voices of the rest. A journalist’s job is to show the people what they aren’t seeing, and allow them to create their own opinion based on the information.
Trump has always been anti-press, unless the press was on his side. In June, 2016, following a court order, Trump University released certain documents to the public. In those documents were some insights into Trump’s business practices. One take-away from the documents: “Reporters are rarely on your side and they are not sympathetic.” The job of the press is not to be “on your side” or “sympathetic.” The press is supposed to be on the side of the people, not the story. The job of the press is to shine a light on the things that serve a public interest.
The president has secured his place in the oval office. Now, the battle on the media is hitting an all-time high. Of course, if it were up to the new president, all news would be received through his 140 character rants on Twitter. After all, his posts and opinions are the only thing that matter. Right?
Trump has vocalized his stance that CNN is “fake news.” He has gone on record to call reporters from ABC “sleaze.” He has made no secret that he is against the New York Times. He has kicked the press out of his rallies, and he has gone so far as to make fun of a disabled reporter.
With an administration that has recently promoted the idea of “alternative facts,” it’s clear that everything that spills from the camp is going to be doublespeak of some sort. How will this distaste for the news media- and even entertainment media such as SNL– carry forward into the next four years? If only Orwell were alive to tell us more about this future we’re entering.