Whenever Donald Trump tweets, the internet reacts. He eats his steak well-done. The internet reacts. He drinks a bottle of water. The internet reacts. He tweets. Well, the supposed collective known as the internet will rage against him in the comments section calling for his impeachment and demanding he be removed from Twitter for violating its terms of service while also waiting with bated breath for his next tweet so they can do it all over again.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize President Trump, and none of them need deep analyses on how he throws fish food into a koi pond. You can talk about how, under a Trump-backed administration, the FCC wishes to abolish net neutrality. You can talk about various U.S states that are becoming more absurd in their attempts to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion. You should be concerned that the press is reporting on non-issues like the koi pond and the water sipping stuff instead of actually focusing on these key issues. You should be concerned that Trump wishes to limit freedom of the press. You should be concerned he could potentially be in the Panama Papers.
What’s the latest tweet from the President that has “the internet” in a bit of a tizzy? Well, just the other day, he tweeted this shocking piece of horrifying awfulness:
Donald Trump did…what!? He rejected being TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year. You know, that’s, like, Literally Hitler levels of behavior there.
All jokes aside, this one tweet resulted in coverage from CBS, NBC News, Us Weekly (at least this makes sense), The Guardian, ABC News, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, The Washington Times, Business Insider…need we continue? Basically, most of the news media stopped the press to report on how Donald Trump was so very, very wrong and totally incorrect he was. One gossip magazine even had the obligatory “Celebrities React To” headline.
It’s absolutely amazing the lengths some completely serious news sites will reach in order to criticize Trump when there are actual problems right in front of their—and everybody’s—noses. It does makes sense that these journalists and reporters are making up the news as they go. According to the Pew Research Center, State Department press briefings are at their most infrequent level in decades under President Trump and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Donald Trump also blatantly mocks and criticizes the free press, and refused to host them when he was inaugurated, which is against tradition.
One can also understand Trump’s distrust of the media; after all, these were the same news sites which claimed Hillary Clinton had a ninety-nine per cent chance of winning the election, and in which only two out of one hundred top newspapers expressed endorsement of Trump as President. However, wishing to censor the entire internet (the FCC’s proposed revoking of net neutrality) and censoring the entire free press is not the way to do this.
When the Government and the press refuse to play nice with each other, that’s both worrisome and a good sign for democracy. On one hand, the press should be there to hold the President accountable, and to keep the country a thriving democracy. On the other hand, there should be some sense of cooperation, in which the two show each other the most basic sense of respect. While the democracy of the United States is still thriving—and, no, a country which allows someone to project the words FUCK TRUMP on a building without consequence is not a fascist dictatorship—it is concerning what this lack of mutual respect is doing to both the state of U.S politics and the state of U.S journalism.
Both sides are dripping in hypocrisy. The same media, furious that Trump won’t allow them into as many press briefings as they were previously afforded, are making up stories based off a couple of characters from an r/OldPeopleFacebook tweeter, and changing it to fit their own preconceived biases. Donald Trump himself claims to be against Fake News, but is constantly tweeting, retweeting and accepting misinformation that confirms to his preconceived biases. Only one of these sides is being held in any way accountable, but that is not nearly enough to stop this absurdity.
And about the Donald Trump TIME tweet? Journalists, it’s not in the public interest that El Trumpo rejected a hypothetical call from TIME. Unless you’re a gossip rag, report on the actual issues. President Trump, don’t pretend you received a call from TIME themselves. It’s one step away from those Tumblr stories where the bus always applauds at the end.
What are some issues we should be focusing on instead? Well, for one, TIME magazine itself could soon be partially owned by the Koch brothers, who are backing a takeover of Time Inc by the publisher Meredith, which could potentially lead to a Las Vegas Review-Journal situation, and that’s never good news. Hmm…maybe some food for thought?