Since President Donald Trump’s election, the country has become further polarized due to his epic tirade on truth. While many find the president’s behavior to be despicable, dishonorable, impeachable, in reality, if anything, it’s surely an alarming realization that Trump is the actualization of the kind of leadership millions wanted and continue to support. When evidence-based facts no longer really matter, the president is then able to redefine not only perception, but accountability as a whole for the masses to follow. American society feels more like lemmings following each other right off the cliff.
The Washington Post reported on April 29 a unique accomplishment for our Commander in Chief:
“It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day. But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period.”
When reflecting on Trump’s version of reality, where he makes no apologies for what he has said despite the media’s constant fact checking, it seems that the country is broken into those who support the idea of the news media being Public Enemy No. 1 versus news loyalists, especially brand name news, from Fox to MSNBC to the New York Times. There are, however, many who are disenfranchised from politics and news altogether because of polarizing tactics that diminish a sense of community. And this is the best form of democracy at work, allegedly.
Once we take 10 steps back from this media circus, this presidential debacle, this nation stoked by fear and paranoia and loathing, we can see clearly that Trump is one of the most effective, prolific, lying leaders of all time. But Trump is winning in such a grand way because our focus, as a divided nation, is so set on him, whether that’s blaming him for all of our problems or attributing our successes to him. It’s no wonder we continue to see increasing rates of drug addiction, suicide, divorce, low birth rates, etc. We simply care more about those things out of our control than the hungry on the street and the depressed under our roofs. And that is where the real news comes in.
The due diligence of the press is to ground communities and society as a whole in a shared perception of the truth. We report what credible agencies and people divulge about relevant issues, we rely on them to be forthcoming. From that point, the journalist is responsible to tread a path that is fair in sharing what has been learned.
“Donald J. Trump is not the first and won’t be the last American president to create jitters about the First Amendment, so be humble, be skeptical and beware of being infected by the very things you’re fighting against,” said Andrew Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on Saturday, April 27.
One thing in particular journalists seem to be fighting against is the idea that integrity and credibility don’t matter. But integrity, consistency, awareness, culpability — those should be the top priorities for every journalist. The same should apply to politicians, but that’s what democracy is for. When politicians aren’t grounded in truth, we vote them out. But how can a public trust news media when the giants are so polarized? Maybe it’s time to shift our attention to what is in our grasp: the local news and issues that we can impact (through all those aforementioned attributes) to better our community and get a true sense of what kind of president we need in the White House versus focusing on the one so many don’t want.