Is President Trump’s “War on the Press” just one great big reality show that we are all a part of? And are both the Trump administration and the main stream media both really the winners of this ultimate game? Is the “fake news” fight really fake, and is it being used by one side to distract us and the other to make money?
As Donald Trump hits his 100-day milestone, the war with the media seems as hot and heavy as it has ever been. The president’s decision to snub this weekend’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner has accentuated the love loss between the president and what his top advisor, Steve Bannon, calls “the opposition.” There is a great divide between the White House and the press house.
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You can make a case that both sides on this divide are reaping benefits from this war. Some analysts say that Trump uses the press as a foil to deflect bad news. The rift has caused more consumers to be looking for credible sources of information, if not just simply looking for their daily dose of this highly charged “reality show.”
“Trump has been gold for the mainstream media,” says Tobe Berkovitz, a former political consultant who is now a communications professor at Boston University. He said that Trump has “a handy devil he can blame for all his stumbles,” and as a result, “both sides are pretty happy with each other.”
Trump says that the New York Times is failing, but the truth is that they have seen a significant bounce in circulation since Trump’s victory last November. Cable news networks have also seen a rise in viewership. “You can attribute a lot of that to Donald Trump,” said Dan Kennedy, a Northeastern University journalism professor, he continued by describing the growth in interest in the midst of “great anxiety.”
The truth is that President Trump has granted interviews to nearly all the mainstream media and some pundits are questioning whether the animosity is really all that it appears. Trump calls a lot of the reporters that he denigrates publicly. Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold interviewed more than 3 dozen members of the White House Press Corps and then wrote that Trump is engaged in a “fake war” on the press. They said that Trump’s team works to maintain relationships with journalists.
Ari Fleischer, who worked with President George W. Bush, stated that Trump helps himself politically by vilifying the media. Public trust is at an all time low and he strikes a cord with his constituency when he goes after the press. Charlie Spiering, a reporter from Breitbart News, said that when Trump bashes the press it isn’t “to denigrate the press,” but because “it was popular among his base – his base loves those taglines.”
The question that remains is whether or not this “war” is good or bad for the country? Jeff Jarvis, a City University of New York journalism professor said, “If it’s bad for democracy, it’s bad for the press. He’s attacking our credibility, attacking our trust.” CNN reporter, Jim Acosta has similar concern, “When he leaves office, we need Republicans to believe what is being said in the mainstream press just as much as we need Democrats to.” According to a Pew Research Center survey released this month, 83% of respondents said that the relationship between Trump and the media is “unhealthy,” and 73% said that the tensions hinder public access to important polictical news.
What do you think. . .is the “fake news” fight really a “fake war?”
Credit: Yahoo News