The War on Free Press

While I work in marketing and have no desire to ever go into journalism, that’s essentially what my communications degree is in. I was editor-in-chief my senior year and I have spent a lot of my time writing and research about new things for my classes. I took almost every journalistic type class offered during college and as Trump began to stick out as a forerunner, then a major candidate, and then finally president elect it became a big topic of discussion in many of our classes.

I don’t care what your political affiliation is, by deeming news to be fake, you are hurting free press. When the president pinpoints specific news outlets to be “fake” he’s hurting one of the major values of our country. I’m sure you all know where I stand with him, but to me, this is one thing we need to be standing up for.

Today, I saw a headline for the NYT (couldn’t read it; reached my max for the month already) and it was about how journalists are not the enemy, and I haven’t seen something that describes this war of free press so perfectly. Everyone has opinions, everyone has thoughts, and that’s the point of living in America, we can share those thoughts and opinions without fear of persecution.

In May, my college made national headlines because of a display that was put up by the Hood College Republicans, many found it offensive, including myself. However, it stayed up because my college honored free speech. Although some tried to deem it hate speech, there was nothing attributed to specific members of the club, but rather big names of the Republican party. I respect that, I respect that my college allowed it to remain standing. I would not say I would have allowed so much discussion over it (giving us some negative right-wing publicity) but it’s the perfect demonstration of why free speech is so important.

I think everyone is willing to admit how biased some news outlets are, especially in today’s political climate. However, by deeming essentially all news other than Fox, an extremely right-winged outlet to be fake we are hurting free speech. When I hear the president call out nearly every basic cable channel as fake news, all I can think about are children all over the country who will turn to Fox as their main source.

There is biased media, CNN, Fox, even the NYT I have recently been perceived as more left-winged recently (maybe it’s because of what one of their reporters said to me but that’s a different story). Just because there are biased media, doesn’t mean there are unbiased media. Do your research, according to the Pew Research Center, everyone seems to equally trust the Wall Street Journal (and no one trusts BuzzFeed big surprise there). Learn what sites you find to be most valuable, but traditionally left and right winged media shouldn’t be trusted. Yes, I’d prefer to go check out CNN over Fox, but really I’m probably not going to go to either, I’m going to check multiple sources, get more than one side of the story.

The thing about a free press is that it’s not just for one party, which is why we shouldn’t be relying on one or few sources like Trump seems to be doing. When people think about America one of the first things they think about is freedom, which includes speech, which guess what, includes the media.

Fake news was not coined to attack CNN, NYT, ABC, and so on, it was coined for those falling for Onion articles shared on Facebook. I found this topic interesting because it’s trending on Twitter, how journalists today aren’t journalists, which frankly I have to disagree with. Journalists today have to work so much harder, they’re fighting not only other news outlets for stories but also the internet, which funny enough you can’t just take someone’s Tweets and call it news (@BuzzFeed). Also consider the fact that many journalists and specific media organizations were banned from Trump rallies, making their jobs even harder.

There’s a lot of freedoms we have in this country, which is a very good thing, but BOTH sides need to stop attacking the media. If we didn’t have a free press our country would be a very dark place. So go ahead and call it fake news or whatever you want, just know that we need a free press. It needs to be protected. Find people in the middle, find outlets that have a fair compromise, I swear they’re out there. If you write off any news outlet that doesn’t align with your political beliefs, you’re only going to get half the story. A lot of problems can be found when people disagree.

If the government were to start impeeding on free press, free speech might be next, which then no one will be able to march, either side.

Fake news isn’t what the right wants you to believe, it’s the Onion, and sites like that, not sites that are perpetuating a left-winged agenda. Both exist, so learn about both, learn all the sides. A good journalist will let you know everything.

It’s not Fox or CNN that I feel bad for in this case, it’s newspapers, middle of road news stations, people who are really just trying to share the news. Journalists are so passionate about what they do, it’s a shame to see polictics impeed on a passion like that.

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