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The press should not be suppressed, especially in the era of 'fake news'

Recently, the press has been under fire as many people, including President Trump, have been claiming that many news organizations report "fake news."

However, the whole idea of journalism is to get first-hand accounts of events that have taken place. If quoting named sources with firsthand accounts does not qualify as "real news," then what does?

At his first press conference after the election, President Trump made it clear that he deemed sources like CNN and Buzzfeed to be "fake news." When CNN reporter Jim Acosta tried to ask Trump a question, Acosta would start by saying: "Mr. President-Elect…" to which Trump would say, "No! Not you! Your organization is terrible."

After winning the election it would have only been logical if Trump had been willing to answer questions from all news organizations. He will have to face the same organizations and the same reporters for the next four years, so what makes him think he can shut down questions the public asks?

There are three different types of journalism: lapdog, guard dog and watchdog journalism.

Lapdog journalists write for their own benefit; "[t]he press is increasingly being perceived as a business with an agenda for profit rather than ‘truth-telling.’ " Lapdog journalism may not always be 100 percent truthful.

According to globalmediaed.wordpress.com, "The Guard Dog Theory states that mass media and journalists primarily support dominant political institutions, major economic groups, and their values, but can and do criticize those organizations, especially when elite class members of those groups violate system values or when they criticize each other."

Watchdog journalism "informs the public about goings-on in institutions and society, especially in circumstances where a significant portion of the public would demand changes in response."

According to Wikipedia, "The role of a watchdog journalist as a guardian is to supply the citizens with information they must have "to prevent the abuse of power," and to "warn citizens about those that are doing them harm." Watchdog journalism is used as a solid, fact-checked source the public can use to gain information about events that are taking place inside and outside of their community.

If people only want to hear good news about the president, they are sadly misguided. Different news sources will report the same stories with different perspectives.

It all comes down to one thing: the press cannot be suppressed. If only good things are to be said about the president, or any person for that matter, the public could be brainwashed and the "news" would become propaganda.

In an open letter to Trump in the Columbia Journalism Review, Kyle Pope writes, "We [journalists and news reporters], not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers." He continues by saying, "Facts are what we do, and we have no obligation to repeat false assertions."

Former White House press corps member Helen Thomas said, "I don’t think a tough question is disrespectful." Presidents and people of power should not ignore questions presented to them by the press and instead analyze the situation to give a well-informed answer.

Elise Yu is a freshman at Williamsville East.

 

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