by Alex Marchante
It hasn’t been easy being an aspiring journalist as of late. A combination of fake news sites like InfoWars and PolitiCops, far left and right pages like Occupy Democrats and Breitbart and even typo news sites like Abcnews.com.co has made the statement, “I’m a journalist” a punchline for some people.
However, now there’s another negative attack to journalists in the form of the President of the United States, who called distinguished, legitimate news sources like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and the New York Times “fake news.”
It would be bad enough if President Trump wouldn’t have called the “fake news” media an “enemy of the people.” As a journalism major at one of the greatest journalism schools in the country, how disheartening is this?
Despite the criticism to people who have the skill to practice one of the greatest inventions our nation has created from its founding, I’m not fazed by President Trump’s fighting words. If anything, the president’s criticism inspires me to continue to pursue this coveted title of “journalist” I have aspired to reach for years.
That being said, am I or really any journalist an enemy of the American people?
The idea of free press is a privilege as an American. There is no government-controlled press in America. However, due to this, there is room for citizen error.
I covered, during the Democratic primaries, that there had been a strong wind behind Hillary Clinton with an “endorsement” by media outlets. I mentioned the 16 Washington Post articles published in 16 hours that were all negative to Bernie Sanders.
However, this is not every journalist, nor may it have been any journalist or editor that made that decision. The owner of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, has strong ties with Hillary Clinton. As Business Insider wrote last year, WashPo changed after Jeff Bezos took charge.
I understand the frustration of the American people at outlets like the Washington Post for showing bias. However, where would our information come from without the free press? Where would we have been without Murrey Marder in 1953, when he covered Joe McCarthy’s communist witch hunt trials? Marder discovered that all the allegations were false.
Where would America have been without the biggest story of all time in Watergate? Two young reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, exposed the Watergate break-in which led to the impeachment process of President Richard Nixon.
Where will America be when the next huge story hits? Will we be immediately questioning the integrity of a journalist based on our own assumptions of their employer? Will we disregard anything ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and the New York Times say to us?
I am a journalism major at the University of Georgia. I have and will never, at any time, question my decision to pursue journalism as a career. I aim not to be an enemy of the American people, but a watchdog, reporter, dedicated journalist to be the eyes and ears of the American people to see what is going on in their communities and the country.
As journalists, we try to be objective and cover what we consider newsworthy. When someone tells the truth, we will rarely cover it. However, when someone blatantly lies to the American people, it’s the job of the journalist, regardless of political affiliation, race or gender, to cover it.
Journalists are not the enemy of the people. Journalists give the information so the American people can decide for themselves, based on fact and not opinion, what is reality.
Sometimes there will be a Breitbart or Occupy Democrats post that will try to swing, convince and lie to you to join their side. If you listen to the journalist in your paper, on your credible source, or in your mind that wants to confirm things before they share it on social media, be that informed member of society.