Over the last few days, undoubtedly, we have all seen and/or heard Donald J. Trump taking the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States of America.

As I stated on Facebook on the day of the inauguration, “Today, I pray for a peaceful and safe transition of leadership in our government, guidance and wisdom for Donald Trump and his family, and collaborative efforts on both sides of the aisle. God Bless America.”

As an American citizen and professional in the workforce, I truly meant those words and hope the best for the President, his family, his advisors, and his administration. I want the best for my country and its citizens no matter who is in charge.

Did my message delegitimize my credibility as a journalist? I simply stated, as an American citizen, that I wished the absolute best for our country and our new leader.

As I told friends and family this weekend, there is a major difference in watching the news, being a part of the news, and objectively reporting the news.

On the campaign trail, Trump bashed the media for all sorts of things. Now into his first few days as President, he has stuck to his claim that the media is somehow “dishonest.” While some might very well be, that does not mean all of the media is bad or should suffer due to his comments.

President Trump is on a global platform of power, leadership, and patriotism. He has a giant megaphone, if you will, to reach millions of people around the world.

The new President’s preferred megaphone choice is Twitter. Will it get him into trouble? Sure. Of course. Obviously. Especially if the tweets are poorly constructed or offensive. Remember: the internet never forgets.

President Trump claims a reason he tweets is to correct or legitimize many of the things being reported by the “dishonest” media. While a plausible reason to him, a tone and a precedence has been set, and it reverberates through the administration to all members of the media, especially the White House press corps.

Regardless of the side with which you associate yourself, there are, and always have been, liberal and/or conservative slants to news reporting as well as media leadership and ownership. However, that should not make the slightest difference when it comes to reporting news, reporting facts, and reporting what people need to know.

Why is that such a hard principle to follow? One word: clickbait.

What will drive the most traffic to a website? What words will get the most hits or views? How many more people can we coax into consuming our news products? Those are the exact thoughts of many news directors, managers, producers, and owners, and that’s sad. It’s not necessarily new, though, but an electronic equivalent of the headlines that lure you into reading tabloid newspapers and magazines in the grocery store checkout line.

Many average Americans get caught up in listening to, watching, or reading news, infotainment, commentary, and analysis and not vetting it for themselves. Having access to information does not mean people are informed and educated, and consuming only soundbites and headlines from only one side of an issue, or from commentators or supposed analysts instead of an unbiased reporter or anchor, leads to uneducated citizens.

  • Fact: From the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.
    • Report: On Friday, a dreary January day, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America in front of millions on the National Mall.
    • Report: Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America on Friday. Compared to former President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, millions did not attend.
    • Report: Millionaire businessman Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America on Friday.

One fact. Several different ways it could be said from several different angles.

When done this way, it creates a convoluted cloud of confusion.

Did I just confuse you?

It’s these slants and choice words that get Americans riled up, commenting on countless social media posts, and sharing items about which they have little information.

When hard-working, well-intentioned journalists and reporters combine facts or partial facts with their own opinions, feelings, or commentary, their credibility is questioned, but that does not make all of the media dishonest.

There are good people in media. Really good people. Honest people. Honest and fair reporters and anchors. And honest and fair commentators and analysts. As constitutionally provided, the press should hold our leadership accountable, reporting the facts. It is up to the consumers of news to then make intelligent and informed decisions.

Remember this moving forward – over the next four years and beyond.

 

 

 

Michael Brannon for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

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