Trumping fake news

Suppressing the truth threatens our democracy

Story by Margaret Debenport, culture editor

It doesn’t matter if you follow President Trump on Twitter — somehow, somewhere, at sometime you have heard the saying. The two word saying that could tear our democracy apart. The two words that will cause the American people to completely lose faith in the media. These are the two words: fake news.

The first time Trump used the two word phrase was on Dec. 10, 2016, in reference to CNN’s reports on Trump continuing to work on the television show, “The Apprentice”, during his presidency. At first, this statement seemed to be harmless. Yet overtime, ridiculing news outlets that tend to oppose Trump would seem to create a state-sponsored press.

On June 27, 2017, Trump began to target multiple organizations as “fake news.” “So they caught Fake News CNN told, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!” Trump tweeted.

Of course, when a story is found to be false, the organization is at fault. However, using “fake news” as a statement to target non-republican news organizations poses a threat to the balance of our bi-partisan state. The purpose of having a two party system is to find balance between the left and the right.

The bias of news organizations is not the problem, the problem rests upon the shoulders of leaders who continually suppress organizations that oppose them.

— Margaret Debenport

On Twitter, and all social media, many opinions are taken as facts. A celebrity states an opinion and teens retweet and believe it. This is a problem that fuels false beliefs held by social media users. However, when the president shuts down all news stations except for the ones he agrees with, who are people supposed to put their trust in?

With one opinion being constantly shot down and another being praised, only one party’s opinions are regarded as real. With so many Americans already distrusting the press, an indirectly state sponsored news outlet can disrupt the American people’s trust even further. The fourth estate, the press, is being threatened.

When the fourth estate’s validity is threatened, the stability of our democracy is threatened. The role of the press is to report the truth to the people and to keep the government in check. Without the two ends of the political spectrum being equally trusted, the fourth estate is disrupted and causes the further disruption of the government.

Who are voters to trust if the one place they go for information is corrupt? How will the American people be updated on important information if the information is thought to be untrue? The only solution to solving America’s distrust of the press is to cease labeling of stories as “fake” simply because they are not what we want to hear.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.” All I can ask of the editors at large organizations, which spread news to the masses, is to cling to the truth, which has the power to save America from “fake news” and its nation splitting tendencies.