|A Pace Odyssey||
Recently, a reporter by the name of Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi hit squad. This man was an international journalist with American residency. He has been reporting for several years on the Saudi royal family (specifically the crowned prince) and their inhumane acts against Saudi citizens. Khashoggi was gruesomely suffocated slowly within minutes of entering the Turkish embassy. His body was then dismembered with a saw and most likely dissolved in acid (this was found out from a auditory recording device that was in the room where he was killed). This man was doing his job to report on Saudi Arabia’s human right violations and was murdered for giving the embassy a bad rap. Reporters all over the world risk their lives to seek the truth and relay information to us. Yet, they are never recognized for their heroic livelihood, only criticized and patronized for passing around “fake news.”
An independent press plays a crucial role in American democracy - free press is specifically emphasized in the first amendment of the constitution and is a trademark that represents our freedom. No news organization is perfect, but they more or less get the word out. There are also several sources out there to fact check. Having news/knowledge is power, and it entitles the people to have opinions and refute atrocious acts committed by others.
The Trump Administration, along with others, makes life even more difficult than it is for journalists. President Trump called journalists on his first day of office “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.” He also has called them several bad names in his special way of speaking. Trump has continually kicked out reporters from press briefings. By labeling reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit into silence any person who challenges his version of reality, same goes for any other person who has criticized reporters. It is a proven fact that previous rulers (mostly dictators) like Josef Stalin and Hitler convinced their followers to distrust the press because it gave them an advantage to carry out their horrendous acts behind the scenes. Withholding the press is an act against freedom and is often a factor in genocide. Having confidence in the public to right each other’s wrongs requires constant evolution and self-examination. Even though the news organizations are not flawless, they are still an important part of democracy and should not be silenced or harassed.
On the flip side, there is the issue of fake news. Many individuals feel news organizations are failing to get the facts right. Some think the news is brainwashing them into believing illegitimate facts and stories. The press often fails to give equal time to both sides of the situations. It is easy to agree with one side when the other side does not have a chance to make their claims. Many media organizations are biased, and it can get sticky when reporting the truth may be a swayed truth. There are ways to get around this by fact checking with different news reporters, but some folks do not have time or desire and, consequently, only listen to one organization. In addition, having two strong, partisan parties definitely increases biases within our media.
Where do you get your news from and do you feel it has correct information? How important is free press in a democracy? What would be the consequences of not having a variety of news organizations? Should our leaders be discrediting journalists and the media? Do you have any ideas on solving fake news?