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Don’t like journalists? Try to imagine a world without them

“Disgusting.”  “Sick.” “Horrible.” “Tremendously dishonest.”  “Total waste of time.”  

These are all words that the president of the United States has used to describe the news media.

President Donald Trump has decided that the press is an enemy of the nation and the people living in it. He sent out a hateful tweet to his 43 million followers in February 2017, and has only continued his war on the media since. He has mocked journalists, discredited objective and honest work, and attempted, and continues to attempt, to undermine the dependence that American people have on the news.

It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous this is to America and its democracy. While the president claims that he doesn’t believe the press should be limited on what they write about, he did say that it’s “disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” But take that as you will. He is still insinuating that what is written, reported and published has the purpose of deceiving and tricking its readers and watchers.

This makes it increasingly easy for individuals who simply disagree or do not like what organizations are reporting to denounce an issue as “fake” or “biased” and decide to reject the news entirely. If we continue down this path of distrust and repulsion, we could eventually reach the extreme of ending the press, or at least the desire for it, in the United States. This cannot happen.

The purpose of journalism and news in a democracy is to give the people information and knowledge it needs to be free and self-governing. Without journalism, there is no way to connect people across the nation with common knowledge of how they are being governed, the decisions being made for them, and the events happening in the world around them. To take away this common knowledge is to take away the security of Americans.

Try to imagine a world without news. Your doorstep is empty of a newspaper. Your TV plays cartoons of cats chasing mice in the morning. Your social media feeds are void of political arguments. While the thought of this might evoke the sense of “finally an escape!” at first, the feeling of discomfort will eventually start to creep in. Suddenly, nothing is informing you of the new tax bill being passed in Washington, and you have no idea how it might affect you and your family. Nothing is informing you of the sexual predators littering Hollywood and Washington and their reign of terror gets to continue. Nothing is informing you of the natural disasters occurring half way across the world, and you are in no way prepared for what to expect if a disaster like that would hit you.

We would be a nation in the dark, more afraid and untrusting than ever. Because despite Trump’s endless claims of dishonesty and malicious agendas, the purpose of the news media is a professional one, devoted to give America the information and knowledge they rightfully deserve, to keep them out of the dark.

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