Fake news or honest reporting? There was a time when the American media was comprised of individuals with pride, dignity, and a willingness to show the presidency a certain level of respect. Before Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s, the press never had real, direct contact with the nation's highest office.
The level of contact between the press and the Oval Office was later enhanced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930’s. Roosevelt granted reporters the ability to interview him as well as ask questions on hundreds of occasions throughout his three terms.
At the time, the media appreciated his candor and unprecedented granting of this sort of access. As a result, they reciprocated by following rules set by the administration. They never took photographs of the disabled president in his wheelchair. FDR was diagnosed with polio, consequently developing permanent paralysis from the waist down. He was unable to stand or walk without support.
This level of respect for the presidency has become dilluted over the years. The advancement of technology and society’s relentless thirst for knowing all the details of others’ personal lives have contributed to this phenomenon.
President Trump has clashed with the media for years, way before he attained the Oval Office. The constant back-and-forth bickering, name-calling, insult hurling, and general mutual disgust grows daily. It would be inaccurate and misleading to claim that one side is more at fault than the other.
However, it should be publicly acknowledged that both parties could do more to mend the relationship between the president and the media. This is what our country needs, for its own peace of mind and to regain a previously-held high level of admiration from foreign powers.
So where to begin? Well, it doesn't help to ease tensions when a CNN supervising producer (John Bonifield) is caught on video telling a member of Project Veritas (a non-profit organization that "investigates and exposes corruption in both public and private institutions") that CNN continues to run the supposed "Russia meddling with the United States’ presidential election" story solely due to ratings, despite not having substantive proof.
CNN has not disciplined this producer. President Trump, among other conservatives, did not take kindly to the video’s revelation. The president tweeted, "Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!"
Such comments seem to further embolden attacks made by news outlets and their reporters, thus prompting a vicious cycle of double-downing and continuous affronts.
If "Trump is good for business right now," as conveyed by CNN’s Bonifield, then perhaps the entire media industry should look in the mirror and decide if its role is to report in a fair, respectful, and admirable fashion, or if it is simply interested in catering to preconceived anti-Trump notions in hopes of obtaining increased viewership.
Again, President Trump is not blameless in this situation. While many contend he has strayed from an established presidential way of doing things, let's not forget that he was elected through a democratic process to lead and represent our citizens domestically and globally.
The group of people who care about this nation’s wellbeing are made worse off through the contentious relationship being fostered between the president and the media. Yet it is that very same group stimulating the unparalleled showdown. The issue at hand goes far beyond quips and tweets. There is a fundamental problem permeating our communities.
We go into our respective corners without participating in productive dialogue, one which could potentially improve millions of lives. Quarreling and dismay have become second-nature in a society filled with never-ending conflicts and worries, self-fulfilled prophecies and disagreements, clashes and lies.
We must pray that things improve between the leader of the free world and those who cover his every step, because only then can the public move towards effectuating positive change.
Who ever said returning to the good old days was a bad thing?
Armstrong Williams is the author of "Reawakening Virtues." He is a political commentator who writes a conservative newspaper column, hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called "The Right Side," and hosts a daily radio show on Sirius/XM Power 128 (6-7 p.m. and 5-6 a.m.) Monday through Friday. He also is owner of Howard Stirk Holdings Broadcast TV stations. Read more reports from Armstrong Williams — Click Here Now.
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