Since I published “Fake News” three months ago, the meaning of that particular phrase has changed. It has morphed from a tool of the corporate media to silence citizen journalists into a weapon of the Trump administration to attack the corporate media. Whereas the former had the effect of chilling the free speech of everyday citizens, the latter takes the corporate elites down a peg and empowers everyday citizens.
As President Trump describes media outlets like CNN as “fake news,” the corporate news media has cried foul. CNN’s Chris Cuomo described the term “fake news” as akin to the racial slur “nigger.” His colleagues argue Trump denigrates the First Amendment when he criticizes their reporting and denies them access to certain events. However, this is not accurate.
The Constitution does not afford any special press rights for corporate media entities. CNN has no more a constitutional right to report the news than I do. The difference is money and influence. When CNN decides what to cover and how to cover it, it does a cost-benefit analysis. It does not simply report on the news of the day, rather it determines what stories it can use and twist to push its corporate agenda. The public interest be damned. By exposing the corporate media for what they really are, Trump is encouraging people to think for themselves and seek out alternate, and frankly, more legitimate news sources, particularly those of citizen journalists. The next time CNN complains about being excluded from a White House event, I’ll be more sympathetic when an entity like Wikinews receives as much access and press credentials.
Yesterday, in an interview, former President George W. Bush subtly tweaked President Trump’s treatment of the press and expressed admiration for the corporate media. Even though the news media despised President Bush, he, like many politicians, pined for their approval, like a neglected child pines for attention from his parents. Politicians thrive on media coverage, and so politicians will defend the corporate media when it comes under attack. The defense of this symbiotic media-politician complex is concealed as advocacy for press freedom. In truth, it is self serving. In exposing and breaking this phenomena, Trump moves toward the overarching initiative of draining the swamp of government corruption. This takes us closer to a government of the people.
Free press remains strong in this nation. Through this blog, I’ve been able to spread my own message, more so than I ever thought possible in the past. This threatens the corporate media. They remain free to spread their corporate message but they are losing their monopoly over the news. Trump’s attacks on the corporate media strengthens the position of citizen journalists, which in turn strengthens free press and improves governance of the nation.