By Lindsey Clinton, Co-Editor-in-Chief
The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his administration have left much controversy over the credibility and relevance of journalists in today’s society.
In April 2020, the coronavirus pandemic became the headline of virtually every news article across the globe. With many questions waiting eagerly to be answered, CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid inquired about the Trump administration’s efforts taken in the earlier stages of the pandemic. She vocalized that the administration was negligent in preparing hospitals or ramping up testing. In response to Reid’s statement, Donald Trump spoke his infamous words, “You know you’re a fake. You know that. Your whole network, the way you cover it is fake.” Junior, Julia Demskie commented, “It [the Trump Administration] diminished some credibility for a lot of journalists and news outlets with Trump continuously using terms like “fake news.”
Donald Trump has consistently accused journalists and their work of being “fake” any time they have questioned his plans or ideas. He deepened the division in the country by favoring only certain news outlets, or more specifically, news reports on FOX, while discrediting journalists on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the New York Times, and many more. Teacher, Kurt Ulrich, concurred, stating “Trump magnified the drive for confirmation bias that was already there.”
“Trump’s deployment of the term ‘fake news’ has encouraged authoritarian leaders in other countries to invoke the same phrase to justify press restrictions in their countries,” Paul Farhi says in his article, New study says Trump has ‘dangerously undermined truth’ with attacks on news media. Trump created an ongoing title wave of world leaders discrediting their journalists as a means of controlling citizens and the information they hear.
Farhi continued to state that between January 2017 and May 2019, 26 countries had introduced or enacted new laws which would restrict “online media and journalistic access in the name of preventing ‘fake news.”’ This limited access to journalism reduced the number of people receiving information from major news sources and instead caused them to rely on social media. Moreover, Donald Trump’s daily tweets and Facebook posts encouraged the public to turn to the simplistic information put on social media as opposed to major news outlets providing a developed and research-based story. Junior, Maggie Heenan, voiced “Because of the way Trump used Twitter so heavily to spread news, even things that were national matters and should have been announced in a more formal way, were communicated over social media.”
After a quick poll of students in New Paltz, it is readily apparent over two times the amount younger readers gain their initial information of the news through social media rather than major news outlets. This change in gaining knowledge through apps, like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, has drastically decreased the relevance of true journalism. Heenan continued to express that “people came to feel more comfortable with getting their news from social media rather than actual news outlets and papers.”
Although he is no longer President, Donald Trump’s notoriety of battling journalists and his misguided use of social media will forever live on in how the news is reported and viewed.