It is beyond my comprehension that I am even writing this, but President Donald Trump continues to attack journalists. On Feb. 6, he accused the media of covering up terrorism.
“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Trump said at a Tampa Air Force Base. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”
This is not the first time Trump has insulted the media, the very ones who cover his every speech, policy and tweet.
At a press conference last June, a CNN report quoted Trump calling reporters “‘dishonest,’ ‘not good people,’ sleazy, and among the worst human beings he has ever met.”
The night before the election, Trump stopped in Grand Rapids saying: “We are doing well, these people, the world’s most dishonest people, the media,” Trump said, pointing at us sitting in the media pen at about 12:30 a.m. “They are not happy, no, no.”
Trump, was right. We weren’t happy. But it’s mainly because we showed up to cover his rally after midnight, were shoved into a crowded pen by rude PR people and then
had to listen to him degrade us. And while we are researching and writing and taking photos, some of his supporters walked by us and screamed in our faces, telling us they hate us and that we are spies for Hillary Clinton.
No, that doesn’t make us happy one bit.
Earlier in the campaign, when Trump made his first stop in West Michigan at the Deltaplex Arena, Trump talked about how someone said Russian President Vladimir Putin has killed reporters.
“I don’t like that, I am totally against that. By the way, I hate some of these people but I would never kill them,” Trump said. “No I wouldn’t. I would never kill them, but I do hate them and some of them are such lying, disgusting people. It’s true, it’s true.”
At that moment, the crowd of Trump supporters turned to the media pen, scowling and looking ready to attack at a moment’s notice. That was scary.
Most recently, Trump held a press conference that got him a lot of attention, one of those reasons being his frequent attacks against “the media.”
One of the first things the president mentioned was the progress he has made in his first month as president.
“The people get it, much of the media doesn’t get it,” Trump said to a room full of reporters. “They actually get it but they don’t write it, let’s put it that way.”
What? Over the past two years, Trump’s name has flooded the headlines, and especially since he took office. It seems like every breaking news notification on our phones is about the next thing he has said or done.
Trump went on to say that it was an honor to have the reporters in the room but that “many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve.”
He then said he hopes that he and the media can “get a long a little bit better.”
“If that’s possible,” Trump added. “Maybe not and that’s okay, too.”
“The press has become so dishonest and we don’t talk about it. We are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people,” Trump said. “The press, honestly, is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”
Trump did say that “some of the media is honest” and “fantastic.” But we’re not sure who he’s talking about. Probably Bill O’Reilly.
Throughout the hour and 15 minute press conference, Trump continued to sprinkle in jabs at “the media,” pointing at all the reporters taking notes and photos in the crowd.
In The Daily Show’s response to the press conference, host Trevor Noah points out the part of the conference where Trump asks for a “nice journalist” after being asked “tough questions” by other reporters.
“You have a president of democracy who thinks that press is only valid when they ask him easy questions,” Noah said in the show. “Questions that he likes. In fact in his mind, he deserves it.”
This stuff drives me mad. As a college student working five jobs (in my field), going to school full time, and still barely making the budget with my fiance, this disappoints me. I have lost many hours of sleep because of my passion for journalism, which I don’t regret, but here the president is blatantly disrespecting the people whose work indirectly helped him get to where he is now.
But I won’t let a twitter politician change my mind about what I want to do. Instead, I see this as more motivation to be a good journalist, a curious, hard-hitting, thorough reporter of the news and facts. We are the bridge to the public, supported by our First Amendment rights.
That’s why I continue to stay educated about the president’s policies and decisions, because even if they are not always the best choice, if I can keep people as informed as possible, then I am doing my job. And in turn, the public can feel educated enough to get involved: vote, call your representatives and get to know your neighbors.
Journalists, don’t be discouraged by the president’s comments, but don’t be too angry either. Channel your frustration into being the best reporter you can be and I know that we can make a difference.