September 17th 2018 – By: William Larsen – Civilians News – “News For All Views” –
#FakeNews And Freedom Of The Press Abroad –
The most, “core aspect,” of any democracy, is the freedom of the press. Originally created as a check and balance upon institutional authority, the ability to express unhappiness through fair and free journalism, has long been ingrained in America’s values.
To abridge the freedom of the press, however, is nothing new to this planet. Since Feudalism, elitist leaders have long sought to diminish the press, often viewing, “the media,” as something of a nuisance. Furthermore, in the chess game of international politics, where not only legislation itself, but the order in which it’s passed, greatly affects a societies future…. (IE medical marijuana and universal healthcare) this creates a political landscape, where the freedom of the press remains one of the most intrinsic aspects of democracy today.
In fact, the fundamental right to report the news is so important, that many U.S. Presidents, past and present, have found themselves in a position of lobbying foreign leaders, “to allow for criticism,” in foreign press. Nevertheless, not all world leaders handle criticism the same way, both foreign and domestic………
So, with that being said, perhaps the greatest legacy of the Trump administration, thus far, has been President Trump’s unwillingness to heed criticism from the press. That is to say, Trump’s political strategy often upsets people, civilians and those in politics alike, leading the President to fight back by essentially undermining his opposition. Furthermore, nothing is more central to this tactic than the President’s, “war on Fake News.”
However, while young journalists, (like me), are dealt more than just an unfair blow-back, from the President’s attacks on the media, this political disposition towards the press, is nothing new abroad.
In fact, in many ways…. had Hillary Clinton won the election of 2016, America today might be falling dangerously close to losing touch with the rest of the world’s leaders.
That’s not to say, I applaud the current President, for essentially discouraging independent news outlets… but, “in the chess match that is international politics,” the CIA rarely makes mistakes….. Think about the job of our government. Policing the globe is not an ideal position for a country that makes up only 6-7% of the global population. That is to say, that monitoring; disease, infection, immigration, social standards, taboo religious practices, evolution and terrorism, both domestically and abroad, does at times call for a, “chameleon approach,” to international politics. So, I believe this is Washington’s current strategy, in attacking the press.
To be clear…. I think Trump’s, “trolling,” other world leaders…… by discouraging a fair and open press, here in America…..
In fact, I think Trump’s trolling more than just a few people, with his; Twitter antics, immaturity and sexual bravado.
Nevertheless, the current President’s attacks on Fake News, are definitely worth writing about, because they essentially give his pals over at Fox News something to say, while also monopolizing the freedom of the press…… Furthermore, this strategy also purges journalists, who do sometimes lack, “proper reporting skills,” from gaining credibility.
However, lest we forget, Skip Bayless, one of the most well known journalists in America (and one of my favorites), rose to fame by claiming Troy Aikman, “was gay,” 25 years ago. This was a claim, which in hindsight, held no merit…..
Another example of this, is Glenn Beck (a journalist I don’t like), who often used to label President Obama, “a Nazi,” to improve his ratings…….
And that type of reporting, that type of, “bush league journalism,” really has no place in American mainstream media, today. There are simply too many great writers, for journalism to be corrupted by the likes of an Andrew Britebart, trolling the blog-o-sphere.
Which is why I’m not screaming bloody murder over the President, “essentially pulling the rug out from under me,” as a young journalist here on CiviliansNews.com.
But let’s get back to the meat and potatoes. (*Skip’s the cupcake king.)
I think that this administration, attacking “the #FakeNews media,” is predominately doing 2 things.
1) I think it’s purging the field of journalism from, “cheap writers.” (By the way, my grammar is intentionally flawed, as part of my writing style.)
2) I think it’s camouflaging a much bigger problem abroad, in which many foreign leaders, simply aren’t as tolerant of the press, as we are in the United States……
Think about the relationship between the press and a government like England….
The press is probably treated a little differently in England, in part because England is a relatively smaller country. Furthermore, England is surrounded by countries of not only equal, but greater military strength, leaving the U.K. sometimes at the mercy of other militarized nations, like Russia and China. Meaning, that the U.S. can bargain more with global super-powers, because we’re fortunate enough to have such a vast and powerful country, whereas some of these other countries can not……
Which essentially creates an environment, where Americans tend to enjoy freedoms, like the press, more than other nations.
Needless to say, journalists don’t simply, “disappear,” as often in America today, as they do in other countries……
Furthermore, take a country like Russia…… Russia is ruled by a President, whom inherited a government virtually in shambles, during the late 1990’s.
Vladimir Putin, whatever you may think of him, rose to power during one of the most difficult political climates of the 20th century……
Not only that, Putin rose to power through a government, which at that time, was acting without centralized leadership. The KGB, where Putin rose to President, was very much run like a terror network, from 1950 to 1990, as the Western World essentially claimed land, all over the globe, during the fall of the British Empire.
Needless to say, a world leader like Putin, who came up during such a difficult time, might not care so much for criticism……
This is another reason, why I’m not quick to denounce Trump’s stance on #FakeNews (at this stage of his Presidency)…… This is particularly true, because in countries like Russia, societal change can take time. As an example of this, the Russian government is very, “male dominated,” and I have not been to Russia, I don’t want to pass judgement on Russian culture, but I’d also like to point out…. that many American corporations today, are also male dominated. Furthermore, there are no female owners in the NFL and there are no female CEO’s in the big 5-6 tech companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook)…. and these are companies controlling billions of users, everyday. Long story short, it’s really not America’s job to judge some of these foreign governments, in terms of journalism, at this stage of human history.
Point being, we can hate the Trump administration all we want, as journalists and as people……. Yet, when we all stop to think about it, through an objective lens…. what do we truly hate? And that’s when the focus shifts…… because you hate what you know…. and the power of information is infinite, within our global society today. Also, I’d like to point out, CiviliansNews.com is one of the few truly GLOBAL NEWS OUTLETS, on the internet today, unassumingly, for this very reason….. (I read the headlines all over the world, everyday, right here on Civilians News. It’s pretty awesome, an app/web-site that you can actually use.)
But what do we really hate about the Trump Administration? We hate what we know……. and sadly, a large part of what we know, is not only controlled, but sometimes also manipulated, by the media. So now, when Trump or the CIA see’s something that could be detrimental to him, or American interests, he labels it, “Fake News.”
And I believe that this, “corporation style mentality to journalism,” has really created a new, “chess match,” in the American media. People want readers….. but the penalties for reporting frivolous news, or in-accurate news, have never been higher. Furthermore, in many ways, I believe that this is the American government’s way of compromising with foreign governments, which already penalize journalists much more harshly, for reporting, “inaccuracies.”
So you have a modern day, “push and pull,” between rabble-rousers seeking attention, credible journalists and essentially protesters, who seek reform and point out grievances. Now, where this term, “Fake News,” does become dangerously arbitrary, however, is when it’s used to curtail necessary criticisms…. (For example, movements such as Occupy Wall Street, or things of that nature.)
Nevertheless, yet again…. this is nothing new abroad……
Let’s take a look at some of the things that have happened, in recent memory………
When’s the last time you heard the words, “Arab Spring?”
When’s the last time you saw the 500,000 protesters in Spain, who protested simultaneously, during the 2011, Occupy Wall Street Movement?
Furthermore, when’s the last time you saw the 50,000 people who marched in Portland, Oregon, that same Summer, as part of the Occupy Wall Street Movement? (*A movement which was swept under the rug during President Obama’s tenure, I might add.)
Again though, to be fair….. sometimes this plays into the Pentagon’s global strategy….. Back in 2011, no one was talking about the Arab Spring, because they were all talking about the Occupy Wall Street Movement….. That Summer, no one was talking about rising rents, or racial assimilation in Portland, Oregon, because they were all pre-occupied with the occupy protests.
Nevertheless, this strategy of seemingly, “Trumping the media,” is nothing new, in terms of global politics……..
Take the plight of Alexei Navalny, in Russia today. Navalny is currently Russia’s strongest opposition leader, who’s risen to fame, through independently watch-dogging, Russian government officials. In fact, Navalny is currently serving his 2nd (or possibly 3rd/4th) jail sentence, for protesting against government officials. Nevertheless, when viewing this issue through President Putin’s eyes, you might think…… Why should the Kremlin give up power to a civilian? Especially a young civilian, compared to President Putin himself, who worked his way up through the military. While I personally believe that Navalny has a chance to actually succeed Putin, as the future President of Russia (if he toughens up a little bit), it goes without saying, that this type of, “journalism,” can lead to a variety of different outcomes……
In conclusion……. the dilemma with, “Fake News,” is that sometimes people can’t handle criticism, and then seek to discredit journalists who call attention to their, “non-profit schemes.”
But also, sometimes journalists are, “naive,” especially here in America.
Sometimes journalists do jab too far, sometimes journalists do criticize without offering better alternatives, or in other cases, simply don’t deserve to have a say in certain matters…..
But with that being said……. I’m reserving my judgement on President Trump’s, “war on Fake News,”… for now.
-William Larsen, Civilians News