The State of Journalism During the Trump Era



Chaz Bickham, Reporter

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During a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, President Donald Trump and CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta engaged in a fiery exchange, during which the president called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” after the reporter questioned Mr. Trump’s stance on immigrants nearing the border.

After the heated dialogue, the president banned CNN’s newsman from the White House. While Acosta’s press pass was eventually restored, Trump’s antagonistic relationship with the media was on full display during their encounter, causing many to question what the media’s role is with this current administration in charge.

South Pointe High School has a history of quality storytelling and certain members of the faculty have strong feelings about how the media is perceived and what the responsibility of reporters is today in the Trump era.

Government/Economics teacher Gloria Masterton thinks the state of journalism is “threatened” because of how President Trump has been treating the media for the past three years.

“Once you call into question the legitimacy of the media, it’s dangerous to the democracy,” said Masterton.

Armand Broady, a Journalism teacher at South Pointe, feels the news media has lost its way and should return to the core principles of the craft.

“I feel we should keep the focus where it needs to be in a straight down reporting technique, back to the basics more or less,” Broady mentioned, “Journalism is in a great place, but in the meantime, we’ve got to be careful to report the story, but stay out of the story.”

Masterton also had a thought on President Trump’s remarks towards Jim Acosta.

“Very inappropriate. You do not verbally assault someone like that,” she said.

Trump’s contentious relationship with the media began well before he was elected in November of 2016 and has intensified since his inauguration in January of 2017.

In a 2015 interview with CBS’ Ted Koppel, then-candidate Trump bemoaned the media’s coverage, stating that the mainstream media had been unfair to him.

Members of his administration have also been caught in the crosshairs of the president’s vitriolic dealings with the media.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made false statements about President Trump’s inauguration ceremony claiming that it was the most viewed and attended ceremony in history across the globe back in January of 2017.

Current White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is also having friction with the media. In October of 2018, she told Acosta, “I don’t have a problem stating facts. I know that’s something you probably do have a problem with but I don’t.”

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci stated that he wouldn’t trust a reporter again after his controversial interview with the New Yorker where he used an extensive amount of vulgar language about fellow White House Administration members. He claimed that the interview was off the record when it was most certainly not.

Broady is hopeful for restoration between the press and the government, as long as the media gets back to its roots and stays out of the way.

“I hope his (Trump) constant rhetoric towards the fake news motivates reporters to just report, to be true to the news, true to the stories they are covering,” Broady said.