Obligated to Truth

The AMSA Voice

It is essential that truth wins the day

President+Trump+has+repeatedly+made+misstatements%2C+both+in+live+comments+and+on+Twitter.
President Trump has repeatedly made misstatements, both in live comments and on Twitter.

President Trump has repeatedly made misstatements, both in live comments and on Twitter.

Google image/Creative Commons license

Google image/Creative Commons license

President Trump has repeatedly made misstatements, both in live comments and on Twitter.

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We’re three months into 2017, but it’s starting to feel more like 1984. Not the year–the book.

Regardless of political alignment, it is no “alternative fact” that President Trump has a poor relationship with the media. Since the start of his campaign and now into his term, almost every piece of news critical of Mr. Trump has been labeled by him as “fake news,” including polls.

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Stephen Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist and, somewhat ironically, the former head of Breitbart News, said in an interview on Jan 25.

Throughout his presidency, this ongoing battle with the press could lead to potentially dangerous situations. Mr. Trump seems to take everything negative said about him personally, but news outlets are just doing their civic duty by informing readers of the truth concerning the man running our country.

“Any negative polls are fake news,” Donald Trump tweeted on Feb. 6.

Here’s why this is an issue:

The news is supposed to exist as an unbiased outlet of truth. Media outlets are meant to act as the “fourth branch” of government. Just as the judicial, legislative, and executive branches work to keep each other in check, journalists are supposed to keep all three of them in check.

Dismissing anything negative as fake is intentionally misleading the public to think that the facts are not true.

It poses a fatal situation for democracy when the government becomes separated from the public. Closing itself off to the media makes it impossible to remain transparent.

Google image/Creative Commons license
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has developed a confrontational style with the press corps.

It is imperative that the citizens of this country stay accurately informed about what is going on with our leaders. A free press is essential to a true democratic society.

“The only way a democracy can really be a healthy functioning government is if the people have trust in it,” AMSA history teacher Jessica Bowen said.

Without honest news publications, we start living in an Orwellian type of world, where the government is able to make up its own facts and redefine what truth is.

We can already see this starting to happen with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and President Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway.

After the inauguration, Mr. Spicer implied that President Trump drew crowds larger than any other president. The Trump administration is standing by this idea despite obvious photographic evidence that both of President Obama’s inauguration crowds were larger in size.

“This was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe,” Mr. Spicer said.

It is hard to get specific numbers on how many people were watching around the world, but aerial photographs reveal that his “in person” claim is clearly false.  

In a press conference on Feb. 16, President Trump said, “I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan” with 306 electoral votes.  

Peter Alexander, a reporter for NBC News, stood up during the press conference to inform the president that Mr. Obama had 365 electoral votes in the 2008 election and Mr. Trump said he was referring to Republican presidents. Mr. Alexander informed him that George H.W. Bush had 426 electoral votes in 1988, making Mr. Trump’s statement false in all respects.

The government cannot make up its own truth in order to change the public’s opinion of it. It’s dishonest and detrimental to a free society.

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Obligated to Truth
It is essential that truth wins the day