Imagine a world where you wake up and there are no headlines. There is no news. There are shallow, garish stories about the latest accomplishments of this great nation, but nothing else. Not even the cringey thinkpieces on Beyonce's pregnancy.
Of course, this kind of dystopian environment is pretty much impossible (at least for now), but every time the President makes another outlandish remark, one has to wonder if this is what he's gunning for. Every time he denounces a credible news source as "fake news" or "failing" because it releases a story that isn't tailored to his specific liking, he reveals his frustration that the millions of people of this nation won't just get on their knees and grovel.
The true "enemy of the American People" is silence. In a time where people are standing up in the face of bigotry and hate, let us not forget the good old bystander effect; silence is as good as condemnation of those who are hanging on to their rights by the skin of their teeth.
The media must keep reporting on the activities of our President and his cabinet. It is the principal, and for many, the only way we can hold accountable the administration that, in large part, determines the fate of our country, as well as our relationship with the rest of the world.
But this may soon become a lot more difficult; last Friday, the White House barred CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, and others. The Associated Press and Time magazine reporters declined to participate because of the exclusion of their peers. Conservative news outlets, however, especially those sympathetic to Trump, were given the thumbs-up.
Spicer's explanation: "We're just not going to sit back and let false narratives, false stories and inaccurate facts get out there."
On this past Friday's episode of WNYC's "On the Media" podcast, an interesting relationship was established between the President and certain media outlets: Trump's offhand comment about what had happened in Sweden (in reality: nothing) was actually inspired by a false Fox News segment. The feedback loop that we're seeing here can be likened to Russia Today (RT), the Russian state television channel that offers up propagandized lies as truth, and has been called out by Ofcom for broadcasting "materially misleading" content.
If you haven't already heard of President Trump's previous press conference, this piece by the Washington Post pretty much covers it. He treats journalists with the utmost dismissal and disrespect, merely for doing their jobs. He's even set up a donation page asking us to "go the extra mile and make a contribution to help defend our movement from the outrageous attacks from the media coming our way."
But guess who's actually been putting out the lies lately -- specifically the tragedy of the Bowling Green Massacre -- to advocate for an anti-immigration agenda.
This is not "fake news." This is propaganda. You know who else tried to exert control over all forms of communication in an effort to paint the government in a prettier light? His name rhymes with Hoeseph Joebbels, and the takeover he coordinated didn't happen overnight.
Luckily, we live in an era of instant communication, where news can extend its reach to almost all corners of the world in a matter of seconds. But that also means that we are just as vulnerable to misinformation. Fortunately, a lot of this is combatable with basic critical thinking skills and a search engine you can fact-check with.
If I've learned anything over the past few months, it's that no conflict is black and white. Not 'SJWs' against Nazis, or conservatives against liberals, or the LGBTQ+ community against Evangelicals. This is how the media pitches a story, making it easier for us to digest. There's a hell of a lot wrong with the media and how it operates today, but there's no sense in giving up and tuning out.