Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
SPOTLIGHT: Tomorrow, scores of US newspapers will characterize Donald Trump’s criticisms of the media as an assault on press freedom.
BIG PICTURE: I’m a journalist. But I’m not a conformist, and I’m not politically correct. Making a living over the past 30 years hasn’t been easy. Many of the individuals who hire journalists recognize only two kinds of people: those who see the world the way they do, and evil right-wingers who mustn’t be given a platform. Diversity of thought is about as welcome in newsrooms as it is on university campuses.
Like every other industry, journalism has shortcomings that deserve to be criticized. When President Trump scolds media outlets, I don’t feel the least bit alarmed. Often, I’m cheering him on.
As Andrew Russell writes over at LibertyWorks.org, we “can believe that there is a vital function to be played by the media without necessarily thinking that CNN” and others are currently doing a good job.
A recent report by the Gallup polling outfit makes this same point. The vast majority of Americans (84%) believe the media is either “critical” or “very important” to a healthy democracy. Nevertheless, the Gallup headline declares: Both Sides of the Aisle Agree: The Media Is a Problem. While support for the concept of a free press remains enthusiastic, trust in the media has sunk to an all-time low.
When Donald Trump bashes the media, he isn’t undermining public confidence. To the contrary – he’s giving voice to widespread, already existing, well-documented misgivings.
TOP TAKEAWAY: There’s a world of difference between denouncing media bias and sending in the military to shutter newspapers and commandeer television stations. Such things do happen, but they are not happening in Donald Trump’s America.
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