By Noah Torr | Broadcast Reporter
It’s no shock the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, isn’t a fan of journalists. He treats press conferences like he is doing journalists a favor and has not been shy about dismissing credible news sources, such as the New York Times, Washington Post and even ABC.
There are many issues I have with that, and you should, too, but journalists have been dealing with his comments for over two years. Everyone knows Trump favors the right-leaning bias of Fox News, and the country has become accustomed to this. Despite his bias and disrespect of journalists, America is still the safest place to practice journalism because of the protections they have.
It’s not only safe because of the laws put into place, but because of the men in power that keep journalists safe. The president’s job is to uphold the Constitution, and within the Constitution is the right to free press and freedom of speech. There are not many times when a journalist is killed in America, but when that time comes, any president should be quick to denounce the murder.
When Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, it took the prodding of Kashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, to get Trump to say anything. After Cengiz wrote her op-ed piece for the New York Times, Trump finally acknowledged the murder of Khashoggi. The key phrase is that he acknowledged the murder; he didn’t denounce the act.
“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups,” said Trump to a group of reporters when asked about how the Saudi’s tried to cover up the murder.
That was back on October 24, and that was Trump’s harshest comment he made on the murder since it happened on October 2. But in the quote, he talks directly about the cover-up and not the murder. He doesn’t mention any sanctions imposed on the Saudi’s for the murder.
When the murder was first reported, Trump wouldn’t say anything about it other than “Saudi Arabia is an incredible ally,” because he didn’t want to damage the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Trump also went as far as to compare this circumstance to Justice Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, which is preposterous. These are completely different circumstances and the premises of both are very different. Trump said not to rush to judgment of the Saudi’s like everyone did with Kavanaugh. That would be true if there weren’t multiple reports of Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment.
The reluctance to denounce the murder and demand an answer from Saudi Arabia is not a good look for our country because from the outside looking in, it seems like Trump is afraid to step on anyone’s toes. And if we know one thing about our president, it is that he is willing to step on whoever, whenever to get his point across.
It’s also not a good sign for journalists and future journalists. If our president isn’t willing to defend those who are out reporting the news and doing their job, then what hope is there for future journalists. Even though Khashoggi isn’t an American citizen, he was still a member of the country because of his work visa.
It’s obvious Trump doesn’t care about journalists and would rather communicate his thoughts to the public via Twitter versus another voice telling the story. That’s a viable option, but then you don’t hear the whole story, just one side: Trump’s side.
Instead of hating journalists, Trump should embrace them because, just like him, they’re just doing their job, which is to provide a safeguard for democracy.
Journalism is an important aspect of our democracy and freedom in America, and it’s not going away. It may shift and change over time just like any other industry, but at its core, journalism is about telling the truth and exposing those who don’t.
Mr. Trump, I have a message for you. You may prefer the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars and the fluffy questions Fox News asks you, but it’s time to show the same respect to real journalists as you do to “real” journalists. Defend the truth-tellers and those that are here to make a difference in the lives of the American people.
Stand for what’s right, Mr. Trump. Protect those who need protecting, especially if they’re putting themselves in harm’s way. And for everyone else in America, you need to support journalists too.
Buy a subscription to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or even your local paper, and support quality journalism. The talk show hosts on CNN and Fox News don’t give you all the information you need, and they tell you one side of the story. The same argument can be said for Twitter and Facebook because of the algorithms they use.
Support those who are reporting on important issues that impact your daily life.
Make journalism great again.