President Donald Trump on Monday called the âfake news mediaâ the âtrue enemy of the people.â It wasnât for the first time. And it probably wonât be the last.
Funny, I donât feel like an enemy of anything, particularly. Healthy eating, maybe. But the president keeps saying it.
Here is what Trump said in two tweets Monday morning:
âThere is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!â
Much has been said and written about the timing of the presidentâs tweets, coming so soon after a suspectÂ was arrested in a bomb plot whose targets included CNN officesÂ and after the mass murder of Jewish people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Much has been said and written about the tone and tenor of Trumpâs rallies, in which he often verbally attacks his perceived enemies, including a nightly put-down of the press. Itâs a constant drum beatÂ and beat-down.
What you donât see discussed very often is the possibility that, at least about the “fake news” part, Trump is right.
Yes. He’s just wrong about what’s fake.
There have been plenty of false stories about the migrant caravan making its way north to the U.S. border, for instance.
Despite what you may hear on some talk-radio and cable-news shows, there is no evidence it’sÂ being funded by DemocratsÂ or George Soros. There’s no evidence that any of the migrants are carrying diseases. There are no known criminals in the crowd.
Shepherd Smith, a Fox News anchor, said Monday of the caravan, “There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to be worried about.”
But Trump doesnât mean that.
There has been plenty of untrue storiesÂ about the bomb plots â early talk of a âfalse flagâ operation to drum up support for liberal candidates. Some in the media have backed away from or apologized for promoting that theory; others havenât.
But Trump doesnât mean that.
What he means, of course, are stories that are critical of him or his policies or of candidates he supports. He rejects those stories and the outlets that report them, and he says so all the time. And the media tires of defending themselvesÂ or decides that doing so may do more harm than good by amplifying Trumpâs tweets and remarks.
Sorry, no. We need to be reminded, now more than ever, that with enemies like us, who needs friends?
Yes, we may write things that the president doesnât like, that you donât like, that I donât like. And it is essential that we continue to do so. Somehow, we need to know whatâs really going on in the world.
There are certain truths no one likes to face (see: healthy eating, above), but itâs the job of the media to report them. And thatâs going to make people mad sometimes.
Later Monday, Sarah Sanders,Â the White House press secretary, whenÂ talking about Trump’s political opponents, said the president would âcontinue to fight back when these individuals not only attack him, but attack members of his administration and supporters of his administration.â
Was there ever any doubt?
Even some conservatives have hoped that Trump would tone down the rhetoricÂ and stop playing the blame game with the media. So far he has not, and Sanders’ comments say that he won’t.
But every time Trump says the media are the enemy of the people, the media needs to show the people that we arenât.
Reach Goodykoontz at email@example.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk.
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