At his first press-conference in 6 months, President-elect Donald Trump furiously lashed out at media outlets calling Buzzfeed "garbage" and classifying CNN as "fake news," while childishly berating and pointing fingers at CNN Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, ultimately refusing to acknowledge his question.
When our President-elect uses the term "fake news" to describe news outlets that criticize him, he's blurring the real distinction to be made between credible news and actual "fake news." Of course, as an informed citizen you should be critical of the information you read and the sources you consult. But Trump is setting a dangerous precedent of discrediting any news outlets that critique him, regardless of its veracity.
If you claim to love the constitution and all of the freedoms it enshrines then you should be worried right about now. The man who was able to actively promote racism, misogyny, and violence under the guise of 1st amendment protection is the same man who is attempting to suppress the media and journalism. However, this should come at no surprise. Throughout the campaign trail the President-elect banned the press from traveling on the same plane as him, held few press briefings, and refused to give press credentials to media outlets that critiqued him. These unprecedented actions foreshadow a potentially grim future in this post-truth era of politics. Not only is suppressing the media suspiciously shady, but it's downright unconstitutional.
Freedom of the Press is one of the hallmark components not only of the 1st Amendment, but of the United States as a whole. Having free and reasonably unbiased news sources, independent from government influence, is what distinguishes the U.S. from less democratic nations. As Trump attempts to delegitimize the press, he leads our country down a worrisome path (hint: that path is fascism). Many supporters of Trump were fed up with the opacity of government, and called for transparency on policies and government workings. Yet, this is the exact opposite. Trump is moving towards establishing the most closed-off administration this nation has seen. As the press is the main arbiter of information on government dealings, and Trump is diametrically opposed to the press, we can expect to know a whole-lot less about the policies being pushed and the demographics that will benefit most from them.
For years, the White House press corps has served as the nation's cohort of journalists stationed at the White House to relay information on news briefings, White House events, and the POTUS himself. When Trump, his surrogates, or high-profile supporters suggest dismantling this necessary facet of the White House, it should serve as a strong warning sign to the citizens of the United States. Trump does not want you to know what is going on in the White House. Trump is not interested in disclosing policy information pertinent to your life. And he certainly is not interested in creating a more transparent government by the people, for the people. His move towards opacity is not only a threat to the citizens of the U.S., but an eminent threat to democracy as we know it.