Trump Says That The Mainstream Media Is The ‘Enemy of The People’…Could He Be Right?
The mainstream media has been receiving a ton of public criticism ever since Donald Trump decided to run and won the 2016 presidential election. Throughout his campaign and now his presidency, Trump has become quite the advocate against the mainstream media.
His most significant criticism has involved coining the phrase ‘Fake News’ and calling it out where he sees fit.
Not too long ago, Trump tweeted out that ‘fake news’ has become the “Enemy of the People.”
So what exactly falls under Trump’s fake news category? According to a Tweet from Feb 2017, it seems to be most major news networks. However, Fox News was conveniently not included in the list.
Trump has continued to be adamant with his accusations towards the media and has specified which sources he deems ‘fake’. Unironically, the one conservative news station that gives him positive coverage has not been added to the list.
But could there be truth behind Trump’s accusations that have caused the American people to resonate with his message?
The problem is that the mainstream corporate media IS biased and Trump is using that to his advantage.
The Purpose of The Media
In a democratic society, the role of the media is to act as a watchdog for the people against corruption and abuses of power. The media’s central role is to keep the government, companies, and powerful individuals accountable to the people.
So how does the media accomplish this? Through objective reporting of the facts, the media is able to shine a light on issues that the people should be focusing on as well as questioning and exposing abuses.
The media shapes public opinion and is a powerful tool in determining what issues get discussed and what news gets covered or swept under the rug. In a truly unbiased media that serves as the fourth estate, the media is supposed to collect and disseminate news that benefits the masses, not the government or those in power.
Providing both transparency and accountability of the government and large-scale corporations is and should be the media’s main role.
However, that hasn’t been the case for a while now with the mainstream media in the United States.
The Media Today
Today’s mainstream media is more consolidated than ever with six major companies owning a majority of television news.
So what’s the problem with that?
Well, with less news sources available to the American people there are fewer people deciding what makes the news and what doesn’t. This leaves the American media open to more possibilities of bias and misleading information.
For example, Amazon CEO and multibillionaire Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post back in 2013. What are the chances that The Washington Post is going to give a spotlight to politicians, advocates, or activists that threaten corporate wealth and power?
The answer is simple: they wouldn’t.
Just take a look at all of the terrible coverage that Senator Bernie Sanders received from The Washington Post.
Why do this? Because Sanders threatens money and power. Senator Sanders is the most popular senator in the United States currently. His approval rating is at 63%.
Senator Sanders threatens the establishment and because of this threat, the media, as predicted, if they do truly serve corporate interests, will release negative coverage against him.
However, that’s not the only example. We can see the opposite occur with establishment approved candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or Kamala Harris.
In this case, we’ll see the mainstream media give them more coverage.
Because Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden represent the status quo. They’re not looking to implement real and effectual change that will help improve the lives of the average Americans. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Both voted in favor of the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton’s husband, Former President Bill Clinton, repealed Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era bank regulation that kept different types of financial institutions separate. This allowed the banks to grow bigger, thus becoming a contributing factor to the 2008 financial crisis.
Biden voted in favor of that same repeal. So here we see a clear example between who is acceptable and who is not in the eyes of the mainstream media.
Distrust in the Media
Distrust in the media has continued to grow amongst the traditional news sources.
A recent Gallup poll shows that 62% of Americans view traditional news media as biased.
More than 3-in-4 of 803 American respondents, or 77 percent, said they believe that major traditional television and newspaper media outlets report “fake news,” according to a Monmouth University poll.
According to Politico, “The findings also showed Americans diverging on what constitutes “fake news,” with 65 percent saying it applies broadly to the editorial decisions outlets make over what topics to cover.”
This basically means that people question which stories are being given coverage and which ones aren’t. American people suspect that the selection of stories given coverage are based on the news network’s own biases.
This isn’t just a partisan issue either.
According to the Monmouth findings, 61 percent of Democrats believe outlets spread misinformation, up from 43 percent from last year. Belief in the spread of “fake news” by major news outlets also rose from 2017 to now among Republicans, up from 79 to 89 percent, and independents, rising from 66 percent to 82 percent.
So we now have a pretty wide consensus amongst members of both parties surrounding their opinions on the mainstream media.
The media is also guilty of terrible coverage and purposely leaving out or misleading facts.
How many times has the mainstream media covered the Stormy Daniels story but completely ignored the genocide happening in Yemen that the U.S. supported through arms deals with Saudi Arabia? How often does the mainstream media cover stories on how most Americans can’t afford their own healthcare? Not often. How often do they talk about the fact that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck as wages have stayed stagnant since the 80s? You won’t hear it.
How often did the mainstream media create hysteria around the Russia investigation despite Gallup polls showing that a majority of Americans don’t care about the situation with Russia?
While 1/3 GoFundMe campaigns are for medical bills, Jake Tapper is on CNN questioning the idea of Medicare For All.
He goes on to talk about how Senator Bernie Sanders stated that Medicare For All would save the government money when Senator Sanders clearly said that it would save the American people money. He seems to intentionally misquote Senator Sanders and only further proves the idea that the mainstream media hires talking heads that will back up the narrative of the establishment.
Every other advanced country in the world has some version of universal healthcare and such a healthcare system would save the American people 2 trillion dollars, but the TV pundits will continue to question, “Who will pay for it?” While the same question is never posed when money is being allocated for our immense military budget.
This is just one example of many where the media purposely misrepresents news or slants it in favor of the elite.
The media is biased in favor of ratings, profit, and keeping their advertisers and owners happy. The news is dominated by media conglomerates that push a narrative that protects their interests.
Trump’s Definition of Fake News
Trump’s definition of fake news is far from an honest critique of the way the media has fallen into line with powerful interests. In fact, that doesn’t seem to be his issue with the media at all. Since Trump’s criticisms have only fallen onto media networks that seem to report on him in an unsympathetic way we can rightfully say that his critique is all about himself as usual.
That’s why you never see him criticizing Fox News or calling the Fox News network ‘fake news’ because they consistently support him and his administration. Trump’s criticisms of the media stem from a self-serving attitude. Any media coverage of him in a negative light is ‘fake news’ and anything in a positive light should be revered.
Trump doesn’t deserve any credit for calling out the media on ‘fake’ stories as his only concern with the media is whether they’re glorifying him or not.
What Trump has managed to do is take an already dying trust in the media and twist it to his favor. Without an already existing lack of trust in the media, Trump’s ‘fake news’ shtick would never have resonated with the people in such a profound way.
So the media’s lack of accountability has allowed a demagogue to sound somewhat reasonable in his criticisms of the news.
Enemy of the People?
Here’s the problem: the mainstream media has lost so much credibility that a moron like Trump can stand behind a podium, cry out ‘FAKE NEWS’ and have it resonate in the mind’s of the American people. The average American isn’t an idiot, despite what the elitists in the media will want you to believe. Many of us have seen the deterioration of the news and how so much of the reporting done is to protect the status quo of the establishment.
So in accordance with Trump’s definition of ‘fake news’ is the media a threat to the American people? No. Not when we take into account the fact that his calling out of the media stems from an authoritarian impulse to control the narrative surrounding his time as president.
However, has the mainstream media lost so much credibility that when an idiot like Trump comes along and calls them ‘fake news’ that they have actually given him credibility instead? Then the answer is a solid yes.
The mainstream media, especially television news, has actually shot itself in the foot through its terrible job of reporting. Placing their focus on ratings, doing the bidding of the government and corporations, and covering stories that don’t impact the average American has caused this loss of trust to continue.
Michael Taulberg did a piece where he compared news coverage between mainstream media news outlets to see if the coverage would differ. As you can see below, the message seems to be quite a consolidated one, with Trump, of course, dominating over most of the coverage.
It’s not so much that the news is fake but that it is manufactured with a specific agenda in mind. The media is propagandized and the American people are no longer naive to it.
Fake News would be InfoWars or random news sources with no real credentials. Fox, MSNBC, CNN, and other major news networks are more guilty of partisan bias and slanted news stories.
Enemy of the people? Not quite.
Stenographers for the elite? Pretty much.
We need a mainstream media that is willing to do their job and educate the people on the issues that matter to the average American. Without a mainstream media that acts as a watchdog then the American people are left uninformed to corruption and susceptible to more of it.
Until the media cleans up their act and stops acting as a mouthpiece for the establishment then the trust between the people and the media will continue to erode.
But, as long as the media’s main objective is profit and keeping the status quo afloat, then the term ‘fake news’ will continue to stick, no matter which buffoon utters the words.