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Articles > Politics November, 21, 2018

Trump vs. the Media: Terror, Turmoil or Tyranny?

Srivats Lakshman
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It’s not hard to see that Trump’s recent attacks on the press are an abuse of power. Given the current spread of right-wing conservatism sweeping the globe, some are concerned that America is leading a return to tyranny.

This issue becomes especially worrying when one considers how Trump shuts down those who dare to question him. The banning of Jim Acosta is the latest example: using the excuse of ‘sexual harassment’, the White House has forced out a reporter who just asked Trump a question which he couldn’t answer. Rather than accept the truth, he chose to shut down a reporter just for doing his job. Here’s a link to the video, so you can judge for yourself.

In my opinion, Trump’s reactions are not those of a leader, but those of a person desperate to cling on to power. The microphone (or Twitter) is his greatest weapon, and by simply walking away from it, he shows that he can pick and choose what to answer. This removes any accountability and begs the question: is this how any democratically elected leader should behave?

After two years, I really do not believe that the media can change how Trump sees them; his beliefs are set in stone. Calling something ‘fake news’ if it doesn’t agree with your world-view strikes me as immature and petty. The fact is, there is very little fake news, there is just too much news. The Internet and social media have allowed opinions to overtake facts, and this is what confuses the average reader. The press has a mandate to present facts, not opinions, but when the two are so indeterminable from one another, then it is a hard job indeed. Yes, errors will happen, but that doesn’t mean that the press has it all wrong.

Whether it’s the political standoff between Qatar and the GCC, the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi or even the parliamentary crisis in Sri Lanka, there is a truth to all these stories. There is no fake news, only jigsaw pieces since the media is no longer being allowed to do its job to the full extent. In USA, a country which proclaims itself to be democratic, this ongoing battle between the President and the press is a huge concern.

The press is already under attack, it does not need to go to war

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  1. Patrick

    Acosta had reason to be banned. He had asked his one question and kept on interjecting. There were many other journalists in the room; why should he get to have more time/ask more questions than they do? He’s not more important than them, and I know Trump wanted to have the last word, but Acosta also interrupted the other journalist that was trying to speak after him. Acosta was being rude to his journalist colleagues, not just to the President of the USA. It’s just because it’s an authority figure like Trump, who the majority of people don’t like, that most flock to defend Acosta. It’s more about wanting to bash Trump, then about Acosta losing his press pass.

    Another thing is that there are more credible, longer videos to watch of this to gather a fairer opinion. Acosta had already been speaking for just over a minute, unless my memory is incorrect, and The Sun are notoriously recognised as being one of the worst media outlets in the UK. This is a video I just found that help sums it up: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e_MyFhk8KhQ