This is the third time I’ve written an article for this week’s publish. The first one was about how almost every Leonardo DiCaprio movie is connected. The second one was written after I saw this video (https://goo.gl/uDmKEK) and I felt very compelled to write about the cost of war and how peace is more important now than ever. Both of those articles will see the light of day soon, but for now I feel it’s critical to write about recent events that transpired in the White House Press room Friday evening.
If you’re still reading this, great. If you’re not, you are the problem.
Shortly after the election I felt entirely burnt out and deflated on politics. I didn’t want to enter the fray of screaming matches online between friends, family, and strangers who refuse to listen to anything the other has to say. I just didn’t have the energy, the will, or the patience to do so, so I did as many others should; I didn’t post anything. I just quietly watched from a distance and observed as conversation and decency deteriorated into mindless arguing with absolutely no end in sight. But what Trump’s administration pulled on Friday, February 24, set me over the top. I simply cannot stand to the side anymore. Something needs to be said.
If you weren’t aware, on Friday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer decided to hold the daily White House press briefing off camera in a different location for an expanded “pool” of media. The “press pool” is a conglomeration of print, radio, and television reporters, reporters from wire media such as Bloomberg and Associated Press, and reporters from the big five networks; ABC, NBC, FOX, CNN, and CBS. This “pool” of press then passes on information from the briefing to other networks and media outlets around the world. So what did Spicer and the White House do wrong? They “expanded” the pool to include outlets Breitbart News, Washington Times, and One America News Network. They then did not invite news outlets CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, BBC, Politico, BuzzFeed, Guardian, and others to the briefing. News outlets that are at every single briefing suddenly couldn’t make it into the closed briefing because the “expanded pool” had filled up the space and they conveniently didn’t have any room for the other networks. If you don’t believe me, here are articles from several different sources.
- CNN https://goo.gl/UUTqIW
- THE HILL https://goo.gl/5KyfzK
- FOX NEWS https://goo.gl/0ekQ8P
- CBS https://goo.gl/aWIdA8
- INDEPENDENT https://goo.gl/BXgJMa
White House Press Office - https://goo.gl/rdqnc4
That was the direct transcript straight from the press briefing. To be blunt, it sounds like a lot of the snaking and misdirection Spicer has become notorious for in his first month on the job. Meanwhile the White House Correspondents Association is fully against what is happening and is fully investigating it. http://www.whca.net/
It's evident at this point that some news outlets were selected over others. Why don't we take a closer look at the news outlets that were granted access over the likes of CNN, New York Times, and BBC?
Yes, we're looking at you Breitbart. The far-right media outlet has found itself in the spotlight this election, and they are a known supporter of the Trump Administration. Here's their article on the issue (https://goo.gl/0Qgzo1). Of course, they deemed the entire fiasco as "fake news" and play the whole thing off as a non-issue. They also provide us with this list of times that President Obama had excluded conservative news outlets.
I won't say Obama didn't have left-leaning tendencies when it came to certain media members, but if you actually click on those "reports" the only substantiated one is the last bullet point, but if you actually read the POLITICO article (https://goo.gl/Iefr20) you'll see that Juan Williams of Fox News was in attendance.
Clearly Breitbart is trying to make something out of nothing, as the other three bullet points lead to non-substantiated articles that show no proof of what they are claiming. However, if the far right wants to talk about Presidential bias of media outlets, maybe they ought to bring up that Steve Bannon, the current White House Chief Strategist, was on the executive board for Breitbart News up until he joined Trumps team, but they fail to acknowledge that.
I'm not saying this kind of website doesn't deserve to exist or shouldn't be at a press briefing. The First Amendment grants them that right. However, for anyone to say that Breitbart news creates anything NEARLY as credible, factual, or believable as content created by CNN, BBC, New York Times, etc. is just blind to what the purpose of objective, watch dog press is.
I'm going to springboard off this debacle to another, more important point. You cannot defeat America, Donald Trump. No matter how hard you try, it will prevail. You may have your unwavering supporters, as you should, everyone gets to have their voice heard in America and I can understand why some people thought you would be the man to change their lives, but they'll only stand next to you for so long. Throughout the past couple of weeks a lot of people have been throwing around the word fascist. No, Donald Trump is not a fascist. A fascist is someone who assumes full totalitarian control of the government, establishing a one-party rule that disregards the rights and liberties of it's constituents. Trump is not that. We still have checks and balances, three branches of government, and the power of our courts systems.
However, has Trump been showing some unsettling characteristics? Certainly.
The Muslim Ban (which is currently being re-written in order to pass a very important document called the Constitution), endless talk of rounding up and deporting millions of "illegal immigrants," threatening to jail political opponents, and his never ending battle against the media and "fake news," are all frightening stances from a man who leads the most free nation on the planet. Anything that puts Trump in a positive light (see: Breitbart News) is real, credible news in Trumps eyes. Anything that calls Trump out, or even questions his decisions are seen as "fake news" that have no relevance and are the "enemy of the American people," even when the President himself has no regard for the First Amendment and the Constitution. That's not how media works, you can't just call New York Times fake news because they're doing actual reporting and journalism that is looking into and calling out the White House. They are there to protect the American people. They are there to prevent the government from hiding things from you, from being dishonest, or straight up betraying the public. Remember Watergate? The scandal that led to Nixon's resignation? That would've never happened without journalists investigating government activity. The President needs to get some confidence and grow up. When you're the most powerful man in the free world and a few articles distract you from real, immense issues, it's frankly embarrassing. I cannot take Donald Trump with an ounce of seriousness, he is my President, but he is far from Presidential. To be frank, he and his entire staff are doing an amateur job and it's showing. Turns out being President is hard, who would've thought?
Just over a month into office, I wonder if this is what Trump supporters thought they were going to get. The Conservative base usually wants the least amount of federal government in their life as possible, yet Trump is invading their lives more and more. He's telling you what news stations to watch. He's telling you what shows to listen to. He's telling you who's right and who's wrong. He's planning on taking away the states ability to legalize marijuana (https://goo.gl/r0q66N). He's telling you that Christianity is the prioritized religion in the United States (separation of church and state no?) (https://goo.gl/yhqmsO). He's telling you who can use what restrooms (https://goo.gl/9nSgwa). He's telling you that we should be best friends with Russia (https://goo.gl/Vp5mvJ).He's trying to spread his sphere of influence, and I just hope that even if you support him, you can see past the bubble, and have some cognizance of reality.
It should be said that Trump actually hasn't gotten to do much. Outside of the Muslim ban and a few executive orders, he hasn't actually done much of anything. But he has said a lot. While Trump claims he is "making America great again," anyone with a grip of reality can see he is doing the complete opposite. When I think of what I want from a President, I want progress, advancement, a positive net gain from where we were when they took office. And yet, it seems Trumps vision of returning America to greatness is using regression and taking steps backward. He wants to close down our borders, build walls on them, rescind protections for minorities, and rollback on regulations that are put in place to protect our planet. Seriously why are people okay with that last one? You realize our air and water is clean and usable because of those regulations right? At this point, in 2017, it's quite frankly ignorant to not believe in climate change and the fact that we are damaging this planet. But Trump and his supporters do not care. They don't care if their grandchildren live on a depleted planet, all they care about is how fat their wallet is right now. They don't care about other peoples rights as long as they are safe. They don't care about any other press that doesn't love Trump. They don't care if a woman wants control of her body, or if a man loves a man and wants to marry him, because it goes against their religion. They don't care about anyone else except themselves.
To those who think Trump is bringing millions of jobs back to the coal mines and oil drills and all the other fantastic jobs that he'll poof out of thin air, I have sad news for you. We don't need those anymore. Companies have machines that work better, faster, and cheaper than a union of coal miners ever will. We don't need more labor workers, we need more educated workers. People who can build those machines, people who can engineer wind turbines and solar panels and hydroelectricity facilities. Smart, educated, scientific people. That's what we need more of. And if you go to college and learn how to do these things, you most certainly will get a job, and you wont need to depend on Trump to come and give you your pickax and hardhat. Eventually we need to make the jump. When horse-and-buggie makers heard of the automobile they had a choice: A) continue making horse-and-buggie's, run out of business, and fall behind or B) leave the horse-and-buggie behind, invest in and innovate automobiles, and grow and prosper. As a country we are a technological point where we need to decided if we're going to wither and fall behind, or be on the forefront of innovation. I know I'm being quite harsh on Trump supporters, as nearly everyone has at this point, and I know many of them that are amazing people who actually do have sympathy for others. I'm not trying to group them together with the millions upon millions of people who still cry out for Hillary Clinton's jail sentence (remember when that was thing? Now no one of any significance talks about it? Exactly). But the compassionate and sympathetic conservative can be found few and far between these days and they are most definitely in the minority of the Republican party.
Right now, it seems, we as a country are content to stay right where we are. We don't invest in renewable energy to preserve our planet. We don't invest in what we're going to do after the coal and the oil runs out. We don't invest in how to institutionally change the communities that crime and illegal immigrants are in, we just want to jail or deport them. We don't want to become more accepting, instead we want to close ourselves off and ban those we fear and don't understand. We don't want America, we want to become this obtuse frightening facsimile of America that Trump believes we should be. But he's wrong. America is stronger than Donald Trump, and we will not be defeated. We're far from the point of annihilation, but this is our country, a nation of the people by the people, and one man is not going to dismantle it through his narrow-minded, amateurish, weak White House.