Ethical journalism is under attack by Trump and his crew

Cartoon by Martin Loftin

Cartoon by Martin Loftin

It is rare to see a real journalist on television.

They are being arrested for doing journalism. Instead you see pundits, anchors, TV personalities and public relations professionals. Panels of so-called experts share their opinions and argue rather than discuss the real issues that are important to the American people.

A journalist covers stories and presents the facts, but a pundit just talks.

In 2016 real journalists like Amy Goodman have been arrested for covering real stories like the police assault on protestors at Standing Rock, North Dakota who want to prevent the construction of a pipeline through Native American land.

While major news networks ignore the plight of journalists and protestors in favor of more entertaining and easier-to-reach stories, they reveal how little they care about people and the truth.

Even before President-elect Donald Trump waged war against the media, calling news networks “dishonest” for covering the many controversies that surround him, honest journalists were crippled by corporate interests. Corporate media had a huge influence on this election and enabled a once-fringe candidate to rise to power.

Long before the presidential primaries had sealed the fate of the election, the fix was in. Emails released by WikiLeaks showed that the Democratic National Committee had decided Hillary Clinton was going to be the Democratic nominee. The DNC worked with MSNBC, CNN and others in the media to ensure that she would be the face of the Democratic Party. During the primaries and presidential election the majority of stories about Clinton may have been negative, but at least they reminded the American public that she existed.

Name recognition goes a long way.

During a Town Hall meeting on MSNBC, Chris Matthews said he felt that that Clinton was ready to be president long before the primaries were decided.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was practically ignored and treated like a third-party candidate. News outlets worked to stick a hatchet in his back and buried Sander’s populist message beneath Trump’s populist message.

Trump received $4.96 billion of free media compared to Hillary Clinton’s $3.24 billion according to data collected by the data tracking firm mediaQuant. Cable news networks were so intoxicated by the ratings Trump pulled in for them it allowed him to outshine the horde of other Republican nominees.

In return for the free airtime, Trump helped boost ratings. CNN saw aggregate primetime viewership increase by 50 percent, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite the fact that Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, invested nearly $1 million dollars into Clinton over the years, helping Trump throughout the election cycle with free advertising backfired.

With real journalism, all sides of issues must be covered fairly and accurately. During elections journalists must not show favoritism to any of the candidates.

The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics that states, “Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy,” and there are four principles that are the foundation of ethical journalism: “Seek Truth and Report It, Minimize Harm, Act Independently and Be Accountable and Transparent.”

But when media outlets chase ratings they sacrifice journalistic integrity.

The media created Trump and refuse to accept responsibility. A leaked opposition research dossier from 2015 showed that the DNC and Clinton campaign thought that Trump was the only Republican candidate Clinton was capable of beating. Multiple polls by RealClearPolitics showed Clinton losing to most of the other establishment Republicans running in the primaries, and elevating Trump would give Clinton a candidate she could actually beat.

They were wrong.

Corporate media is already trying to curry favor with the Trump administration by ignoring the $25 million settlement of Trump University with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others from California by focusing on the latest Trump Twitter tantrum.

While establishment media worked hard to make Trump implode before the election, they failed to see the rising populist tide coming to swallow the corporatists in Washington D.C.

Now that Trump has won, the media sought the same chummy relationship they had with President Obama. Media moguls and TV personalities like Wolf Blitzer, Lester Holt and George Stephanopoulos met with the president-elect at a private meeting at Trump Tower expecting to discuss how they can work with the Trump administration and maintain their current level of access. Trump used the meeting to berate them for being deceitful and lying about the awful things Trump has said.

“We’re in a room of liars,” Trump told a room full of television anchors. “The deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.”

Nazi strategist Joseph Gobbels described how propaganda works: if people hear something enough times, they will start to believe it. “If you tell a lie loud enough and long enough it becomes the truth in the minds of the people.”

Trump is taking a page out of Adolf Hitler’s playbook.

As he rose to power, Hitler denounced the newspapers as lügenpresse, a German word meaning “lying press” used by Nazi’s to discredit the media. American neo-Nazis that prefer the more politically correct name “alt-right” have revived the term to describe modern media.

Trump will find “journalists” who will rollover for him and report only what his administration approves. During his campaign, Trump gained the support of the “alt-right” website Breitbart News, known for it’s racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic views.

Steve Bannon was the executive chair of Breitbart and was chief-executive officer of the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Now that he is chief strategist and Senior Counselor to Trump. Bannon has Trump’s ear and his toxic views will poison the rest of the Republic.

During his campaign Trump has said that he wants to “strengthen” libel and slander laws in order to jail journalists that speak out against him and report the truth instead of Trump’s version of it. Libel and slander laws are supposed to protect people from having their lives being ruined by misinformation and allow them to sue for grievances. The truth is supposed to be protected by the law.

Establishment media cannot be trusted to expose President Trump’s sins to the public and will roll over when it becomes unpopular or unprofitable to stand against him.

Racists across the nation are emboldened by Trump’s victory and are sure to continue their violent revelry when he is inaugurated on Jan 20, 2017.

Republicans have been whittling away at the rights and protections many Americans hold dear, including the 1965 Voters Rights Act, only occasionally repelled by the Supreme Court or vetoed by President Obama. Under the Trump Administration, Republicans will attack reproductive rights and disenfranchise minorities with renewed vigor.

As Trump’s power grows, many people will fall in line and look the other way just like many Germans did when the Nazis rose to prominence.

America is quickly becoming the Fourth Reich.

American journalists cannot allow Trump to corrupt the country more than he already has and must risk their lives and livelihoods to save the United States from an orange-colored tyrant.

People must abandon media outlets that refuse to oppose Trump and embrace those that tell him “Not on our watch.” Americans must use their right to protest and most importantly, vote for candidates that will not allow America to slip into totalitarianism.


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