Omair Ali

Perspectives Editor

This graphic shows that the views of Trump are divided by party lines. Courtesy of Pew Research Center.
This graphic shows that the views of Trump are divided by party lines. Courtesy of Pew Research Center.

The ongoing clash between the mainstream media, particularly “left-leaning” outlets, and President Trump’s administration has grown to be annoying, distracting, and hardly productive. Yet, the battle for the truth seems to be more important now than ever before.

As depicted by the results of the poll above, our nation is severely divided over what we think of Trump that is almost entirely demonstrative of the loyalty to where we stand on the left-right political spectrum. It also offers some insight as to how people might approach Trumpian politics and the legitimacy of the mainstream media, both of whose reputations have been questioned for quite some time.

Recently, Press secretary Sean Spicer excluded several, major media outlets from a press briefing, which was not without direct backlash by members of the press. This unwillingness of the Trump administration to cooperate with certain members incited further tension between predominantly left-leaning media outlets and Trump, who have been fighting for several months.

Trump also uses Twitter frequently as a vehicle to profess his views and inform the public on matters important to him. He clearly expresses his disdain for the media by not being forgetful of them and attacking them on multiple occasions, including a tweet from a few days ago. Trump is not a stranger to criticizing the media, so this does not come as a surprise. But in Trump’s defense, many members of the media freely criticize, or try to “delegitimize” Trump, as Chief of Staff Reince Preibus stated. Whether the media fairly criticizes Trump or not varies and largely depends on what Trump has said and how the media responds to it. For instance, it is not fair when major media outlets support the idea that Trump should be impeached, even though he has not done a provable, impeachable crime. But when Trump lies, it is very fair for the media to address his inappropriate behavior.

On the other hand, members of the media also strives to further their cause by taking their own stance on the truth. A few days ago, the New York Times aired an ad on national television to declare their commitment to the truth. Some might perceive this as a marketing trick to increase their audience, while others may perceive this as a political statement that is directly related to the “truth war.” I believe it’s a mixture of both, but the contents of the ad also suggest that this was also a subtle attack directed at Trump, thereby urging this “truth war” to continue. As you can tell, I wasn’t the most supportive of this rather destructive ad mainly because I don’t believe that the New York Times has always been very respectful of truth, fairness, and the lack of bias in journalism in recent times. Only a few months ago, the same news source admitted to unprincipled journalism. Surely, it should take a long time for an institution, let alone a media outlet, to regain the credibility they lost from some of their audience.

The clash between Trump and the media is no better nor worse than a rowdy dogfight between two powerful groups, and for us serves nothing more than a distraction that highlights how divided we are as a country.

A Sad Reality So Far from the Truth

In the game of politics, truth appears to be a powerful tool to influence the views of the people. Yet, truth seems to have multiple facets and can often create conflict among people who don’t share similar views. In pursuit of the actual truth, both of the powerful communicators to the public, the executive branch and the mainstream media opposing it, sometimes defend their truths in the hopes that they can sway the public in the way they seem fit. Does this make me think that these two entities, the mainstream media and the executive branch, are reporting fairly to the public? Not really, but they’re doing a terrific job of holding on to their political base, and creating confusion and skepticism among the rest.

Perhaps, the failure to uphold the truth is the greatest crime being committed against the public. As American citizens blessed with a high standard of living under a constitution that has stood firmly for over 200 years, we appreciate the truth almost as much as anything else. But when the truth is diluted by a number of perspectives that claim to be the one and only truth, it often becomes hard to determine what the actual truth is. As an independent civilian taking no side in this truth war, I would feel more content if the media did its job and Trump did his. The media, regardless of their scorn for the president, should stick to the principles of true journalism. Trump, despite his passion and personal perspective on the matters, should remain steadfast in his duties and service to the nation. Duty

When will the White House and the media return to sound politics and fair journalism, where we can all represent the will of the democracy, not of personal interest? From the looks of it, not very soon. But this tumult will subside, and when it does, we won’t have to worry as much about the fighting between the press and our president. This would be an excellent first step in the right direction towards uniting our divided natio