Protect the First Amendment from Donald Trump’s wrath

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Protect the First Amendment from Donald Trump’s wrath

Photograph obtained through Flickr by Creative Commons.

Photograph obtained through Flickr by Creative Commons.

Photograph obtained through Flickr by Creative Commons.

Photograph obtained through Flickr by Creative Commons.

Courtney Kushnir

The media always must remain cautious and conscientious of how they cover politics, especially during an election year. But this year, Donald Trump has changed the game. As an aspiring journalist, I am frightened by Trump’s attitude toward and treatment of the media.

To the general public, it might not seem like a big deal that in one of his classic twitter rants, Trump criticizes certain publications for their coverage of his campaign. Of course, no publication prints the truth 100 percent perfectly all of the time, so what’s the big deal if a presidential candidate has some qualms with the media? But when Trump’s beef turns out to be with some of the most well-respected organizations in the world of news, I have to pause.

When I saw that his account had tweeted at the New York Times calling them dishonest and “a newspaper of fiction,” I was completely speechless. He accused the NYT of fabricating sources in their articles, an offense that any reporter would be fired for.

But here’s the thing, Mr. Trump: when a source chooses to remain unnamed, they’re not magically made up, they’re just on-deep-background. I know he’ll never read this and it’s irrational to hope that he will ever educate himself on the seven deadly sins of journalism, but a girl can dream.

The Washington Post came under criticism as well when Trump accused them of printing stories that were biased against him. As a result of his whining, the Post lost their press credentials to attend Trump campaign events. They were not the only publication to be banned. Buzzfeed, Politico, Univision, the DesMoines Register, the National Review, the Daily Beast and the Huffington Post are some of the other big names on Trump’s so-called “blacklist”.

The fact that we allow Trump to hand-pick the people who can cover him in this election is appalling. If by some act of black magic, Donald Trump is elected president, how will he treat the Washington Post or the New York Times while they have to cover his time in office?

Of course, we have the first amendment to uphold the rights of the press, this will never change. Yet nothing is stopping Trump from influencing people’s minds and ultimately their news-consumption habits when he tells them that 75 percent of the mainstream media are “scum”. A decrease in public trust can lead to a decrease in reader and viewership of news, which could be a death sentence for many struggling publications.

Wanting the best from the news we consume is in no way a bad thing, but Donald Trump blindly insults and denounces award-winning publications with wild, unsupported accusations of misconduct. I fear for the future of mass media should we see a Trump presidency come fall.

 

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