By Laura Bustos Martinez
President Donald J. Trump attacked the media on Twitter for, according to him, lying about the reality on February 17.
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy,” he said, “it is the enemy of the American People!”
A few minutes earlier, President Trump tweeted a first version of his message, in which he didn’t mention CBS and ABC and wrote “SICK!”. He quickly erased it and instead wrote a new tweet in which he included two additional “enemies”.
Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain defended the free press.
“The first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” he said.
“If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free press,” Sen. John McCain added. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time, that’s how dictators get started.”
It is not the first time and it will not be the last time in which the media has been pointed out for manipulating and attempting to control the thinking of the masses.
As if it were not enough, on February 24, several media companies as The New York Times, CNN, Politico and LA Times reported that they were barred from the White House briefing
One day later, on February 25, President Trump went even further in carrying on his vendetta with the media.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” he said on Twitter. “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro ordered CNN’s Spanish-language station off of the air. He classified the content as a direct attack to the peace and stability of the country. Who would imagine that these two Presidents would have a clear theme in common?
The media is essentially critical, incisive, but with the limits imposed by ethics. Discomfort is normal in journalism.
Nowadays, fortunately, it is almost impossible to control the ability of the media to investigate and transmit information and facts. Moreover, thanks to new technologies, this world is a “Global village”, as philosopher Marshall McLuhan said. Governments and politicians should get used to it.
Those who do not trust the local media can easily look at other countries’ media with just a click. It is one way to potentially help someone have a clearer idea of what is happening. What prohibited or disqualified who wields power is precisely what arouses the greatest interest.
A democracy without media, without different criteria, without different proposals and content, cannot be conceived.
The media should take the role of “The Watchdog on Government” quite seriously. Freedom of speech should be used to control the State, to inform about facts freely without any dominance, to disseminate all kinds of ideas without any censorship, to expose corruption on government, and to safeguard democracy. The media is the filter between reality and citizens. The media is the mirror that reflects the society.
Perhaps Trump and Maduro should ask themselves: What bothers them the most? The media – or the reflections that the media offers?