10 Feb 2017

How Trumpophobia is Killing Media!

Is Journalism about narrating a fact or ‘actuating’ a narration? Is a Journalist supposed to be bellicose and heuristic when comes to fighting against the establishment? Simplified the mantra, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, one of the most acclaimed journalists opined, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

The adamant equation between Donald J. Trump, its administration and media at large is no secret affair but is obnoxious to the limit of unleashing chaos among people. The hate mongering tweets and articles from both the ends have instilled a world of ‘alternative’ facts in almost everyone’s mind. This didn’t start from the inauguration but had its roots sowed much earlier.

@JacoH: @CNN @realDonaldTrump I can't believe how low CNN can go. Obviously a bunch of Killary fans." @CNN only says negative-bad reporters
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2015

And, recently

Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017

The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017

Talking about the crowd size during Trump’s inauguration, in a series of false and tall claims Trump said, “It was a highest ever gathering (inauguration)”. On the other hand, disparaging the moments of maximum gathering during the hours long event, MSMs showed the crowd size of Trump’s inauguration taken at 11.04AM or some other time. However, the event noted its maximum footfall only by 12.09PM. 

Image Courtesy: Vox 
Comparing the crowds at Donald Trump’s and Barack Obama’s inaugurations https://t.co/U4dIVzCKbH pic.twitter.com/zf8hxVDMpO
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 20, 2017

New York Times' clarification that both images were taken 45 minutes before the Oath ceremony is misleading and can’t reciprocate the actual crowd size in either case. An esteemed newspaper is not supposed to do a ‘Jon Stewart’ by publishing/highlighting only parts of the story. 

To be precise, crowd ‘size’ comparison holds true for the largest of both the timelines, Trump’s as well as Obama’s oath events. The science of the scientific comparison had its ifs and buts.Being contumacious media is undoubtedly a courageous act. However, at a point when people’s faith in media is at all time low the need-of-the-hour is to bring forth factually correct information.

Once empowered with the ultimate presidency powers, Trump left no time in exercising it and soon passed a bundle of executive orders. Travel ban was one of them. The very next day, The New York Times editorial read ‘Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous’. Similar were the headlines and approach of MSMs across the world. Trump’s executive order barred entry into US from seven countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Calling it a Muslim ban is bizarre and illogical as there are over 40 countries in the world where Muslims live predominantly. Technically, the executive order affects 200 million Muslims which constitute only 11.4% of the entire Muslim population. Not only that, media failed to see beyond the Muslims, the problems of minorities living there — knowing the fact that minorities have no voice in democracy.

Joseph Pulitzer once said, “The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.” However, if such is the journalism standard, media is in no position to complain, better or worse. 

The point is — irrespective of how insidious Trump is — media must keep its facts checked!
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S. Anupam

Author & Editor

karn@anupamtimes.com

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