By Gery L. Deer
As President Elect Donald Trump makes the transition into the Oval Office, there is one certainty about what he is going to do next and it’s that no one has a clue what he’s going to do (or say) next. He has repeatedly shown himself to be a barrel of conflicting impulses, throwing out whatever his unmitigated ego decides to wield against the world.
Will he offend or be offended? Will he whine about being mocked on Saturday Night Live or tell others to suck it up when they’re offended by his mocking them?
The only way to combat such a dynamic and unrelenting personality as he takes the most powerful office on the planet is for the media to be unrelenting and uncompromising in scrutinizing this man. To be clear, that’s not saying the press should be unfair or biased against him.
It means instead that America’s Fourth Estate should do what a free press was meant to do – get the answers and report the facts for the people. Not something that was done particularly well during the Obama administration, in my opinion anyway.
President Obama and his family were the darlings of the liberal media, constantly praised and upheld regardless of how ridiculous or dividing his policies may have been. Those who disagreed with him were immediately called racist by the left-wing media and silenced for fear of the long-term damage caused by such labels.
It seemed he could do no wrong and was never harshly questioned or challenged by any but the far right media which, at least from the outside, seems to have had limited access to do even that. Obama and Biden were far more likely to appear on a late night talk show than a hard news program not managed by a liberal corporation.
A biased press is not something America needs right now, but one made up of professional journalists with uncompromising integrity and a desire to get it right. Americans need the facts, not the truth. If you don’t know the difference between the two, go look it up.
Sadly, today’s media companies seem unwilling or unable to promote this kind of journalism, settling instead for whatever won’t anger stockholders or draw fire from social media trolls looking for a fight. If Trump is to be covered fairly, to expose the bad – and probably some good – his administration does, an unbiased media is essential.
Not only that but people have virtually no trust in the media these days. Between the fake news flooding the Internet and the left-wing feel of the majority of the press, people do not believe there is any genuine journalism left in America.
People can no longer seem to discern commentary from fact, or opinion from reporting. The lines have not only blurred, they’ve nearly been erased and the average person is simply going to accept what he or she sees first rather than research the facts before drawing a conclusion. In case you were wondering this is commentary, bias is expected to some degree.
But it would seem that Mr. Trump feels his personal brand and celebrity gives him a level of exposure such that the media is unnecessary to help move his political machine. During the campaign, Trump made enemies of a great many liberal-leaning media giants, but he also alienated popular conservative reporters as well. Neither will serve him well as president.
Presidents need the media – whether the majority is with him or against him – to disseminate a platform to the people. But Trump would probably prefer to have them all jailed rather than try to get along so he continues to thumb his nose at leading news outlets.
In the end, the only way Trump’s unpredictable behavior can be managed is if the media is unbiased and unswerving in its commitment to bring forward the facts, given access is granted at all. If it’s not, and Trump cuts off any news agency that doesn’t promote him in a positive manner, hopefully there are still enough real journalists out there to dig deep, get the facts, and call him out when warranted. A free, fair and unbiased press is the only option left.