Dear Donald Trump, News You Don't Agree With Is Not "Fake News"
Politics and Activism

Dear Donald Trump, News You Don't Agree With Is Not "Fake News"

Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't real.

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Slate

It's only four weeks into Donald Trump's presidency, but it seems to get worse and worse every day.

As if the travel ban and all his risky appointments weren't enough, now Donald Trump seems to have decided he can simply declare every media source he disagrees with "fake". First, we had Kellyanne Conway discussing "alternative facts" about the inauguration turnout numbers, a move which prompted the Oxford Dictionary to tweet the definition of a fact: "a thing that is indisputably the case".

Then, this past week at his press conference, Donald Trump continued to declare news sources fake- but only those he disagreed with. When a reporter presented him with actual facts about the numbers for electoral college votes (in response to Mr. Trump declaring he possessed the widest electoral college vote margin), Donald Trump then proceeded to tell the reporter that he "didn't know" and was "only repeating what he was told". He asked the crowd for "nice questions", refused to answer when he got questions he disliked, and was incredibly rude to many of the reporters present, telling them what they are reporting is fake and continuing to promote the idea that only he knows the truth and that the American public has no idea what they're talking about. At a press conference a few weeks ago, Mr. Trump boasted that he didn't see where all the news reporting of the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline was coming from, as he "had not received a single complaint himself". He declined to mention that the White House phones were still turned off.

Dear Donald Trump: this is not democracy. This is not fake news. What this is- or, at least, what it's headed to becoming- is totalitarianism. Silencing opinions (and facts) because you disagree with them is not democratic, or fair, nor does it make you a better leader. Voicing your opinions as though they are fact, making up massacres, promoting your family's clothing lines on presidential platforms, and yelling at reporters at press conferences are not the jobs of the president. Your job is to lead this country in a manner which respects the values it was founded upon. And you, sir, have not done that. You have torn apart families, you have terrified people into complacency, you have cheated, and lied, and turned yourself into someone who is so disrespected and mocked that you now have a prime-time spot on any late-night TV or comedy platform. And none of that is because people are inherently against you, or because they dislike you. It is because the things you do, the things you say, are so harmful and so absurd that there is no other way to respond.

You cannot turn the phones off and disconnect contact with the American people and then boast that you have had no complaints. You cannot make up numbers regarding your voting margin or your inauguration turnout. You cannot disregard the news, or try to threaten reporters for sharing facts. And the fact that you have been allowed to get away with this is not only shameful, but a clear representation of the privilege and power that you seem so unwilling to admit you have.

Just because you don't agree with it, doesn't make it false. And you should really, really stop pretending it does.

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