The controversy surrounding the concept of “fake news” continues to rage on in the United States much to the displeasure of the left and mainstream media.
Many within media circles have called out President Trump on this conception over the past year on the grounds that it cements anti-establishment hysteria among the populace and, more specifically, is disrespectful to the very institution that supposedly represents the people themselves. “We’re just the fact checkers, after all…the purveyors of truth.” That is likely the prevailing thought process running through the minds of your typical CNN or MSNBC talking heads. And if those very same individuals reacted to the President in a logical, unemotional manner, perhaps they would have a point. The press, theoretically, is an important tool that mirrors the federal government’s own system of checks and balances. It’s very existence should be nothing but beneficial for the American people because it affords them a means of checking the powers of those they elect through facts.
But none of this actually matters if the press becomes so insistent on making a mountain out of every anthill. Or, even worse, when they spread flat out lies so easily disproved that any semblance of trust in their ability to report the news is destroyed almost instantly.
Take, for example, President Trump’s current visit to Japan to discuss a number of political and economic matters with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While on their way to lunch, both men stopped by a nearby koi fish pond in the Akasaka Palace. Shortly thereafter, aides provided both leaders with a small wooden box containing fish food and a spoon. At this point, Abe and Trump began tossing the food into the pond. All seems relatively harmless until, as the media would have you believe, Trump grew impatient with the exercise and dumped all of the food out of his box and into the pond.
Several outlets and journalists decided to run with this headline. Yashar Ali, a contributor for the Huffington Post as well as New York Magazine, is but one example of this.
As you can probably already guess, this story could not have been more woefully inaccurate. PM Abe was the first of the two men to dump the remaining food into the pond, and Trump followed suit immediately after him. This became clear following the release of video footage with both men clearing in view of the camera.
Ali did retract his initial statement on Twitter, but of course it came after the fact.
Now you may be asking, why does this matter? Surely such an incident holds no real weight within the sphere of American politics. However, the media is undeniably obsessed with the “gotcha” mentality when it comes to Trump, no matter how trivial the issue may be. Throughout the past year, they’ve jumped to conclusions with nearly everything relating to Trump so long as it means scoring a few political points; the Trump-Russia investigation comes to mind which, aside from a potential indictment knocking on the doors of Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort, has not brought forward sufficient evidence in implicating the President specifically in potential Russian interference in the 2016 election cycle.
And yet every hour of every day, people on the left like Maxine Waters cry out for Trump’s impeachment as if they have their “smoking gun” tape in hand. Media outlets have taken to lamenting the most inconsequential of things, the most absurd of which being Melania Trump’s choice of footwear while in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Simply put, the more the media decides to complain about innocuous subjects, the less the American people will decide to place any trust in them to do their jobs. And if they continue to push narratives on people when they lack all the evidence, much like Ali did in this particular case, it will only spell disaster for their credibility. Doing either of these things, or both simultaneously, makes it almost impossible for any useful criticism of Trump to be taken seriously by his supporters or those with a more centrist political leaning. And should the attitude of “Get Trump no matter what!” persist for the next three years, it is perfectly conceivable that Trump could still be Commander in Chief past 2020, regardless of what his approval ratings may suggest. If that is truly something that the left and the mainstream media want to avoid, they need to start focusing on what is actually important to the American people instead of what seems important to their own self-validation.
Though, if you ask me, they may be just past the point of no return.