June 24th, 2024

Media the enemy? Yes, of ignorance

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on August 16, 2018.

Donald Trump may be redefining how politics are played in the United States, but real danger comes if citizens allow him or any one person the power to define who is and isn’t a so-called “enemy of the people.”

Newspapers across the United States today are coordinating their editorial page topics to argue against his repeated assertion that the press is just such an enemy.

The Medicine Hat News joins them to denounce the ridiculous assertion from the increasingly embattled commander in chief of that country.

In a well-connected, shrinking world, the effect is being felt in Canadian society as well.

A typical and often unsuccessful defence of the media usually involves high-minded arguments about freedom of the press, expression, and the need for a well-informed population to safeguard democracy.

This seems to miss the mark, however, with a sizable and growing portion of society who see it as culprit for their lot in a world they increasingly don’t understand or feel is actively working against them.

The media doesn’t tell the whole story, they feel. What about my point of view? It’s fake news!

Every corner of society, it seems to them, is backward, useless, contradictory, and generally not as good as it once was, infiltrated by those with hidden agendas, the elite.

It’s the definition of paranoia, and Donald Trump and others like him have seized on this growing sense of disenfranchisement for his own ends.

He’s shredded the conventions and trappings that in the past kept our countries cohesive, with at least a modicum of civility and the goal pointed toward common ground.

Many of his supporters will say good.

And while elevating skepticism to a high art when it comes to bureaucracy, immigration, climate change, and all manner of dangerous liberal thought, Trump himself isn’t being held to the same standard.

A logical examination of his positions on seemingly every topic does not bear out.

Yet, he succeeds with a raft of contradictory statements, appealing to emotion.

If you enter a discussion with a feeling that you can’t possibly be wrong, then you’ll probably leave it feeling you’ve been proven right.

Newspapers and other traditional media sources shouldn’t pretend to be anyone’s friend and, similarly, the vast majority don’t seek out enemies.

As self-important as it sounds, they should and most often do seek the truth and work hard to consider all sides of an issue.

Coming back to ground level, the News seeks most to inform.

We attend planning commission meetings and court, discuss school curriculum, health programs and issues facing seniors, businesses and citizens at large.

We cover emergency situations, floods and fires, and try to tell the story factually, but with compassion, of those afflicted with hardship.

It’s not an exact science, but hopefully each edition informs our readers about the issues big and small. We desire to enliven the community and spur reflection by holding up a mirror that indeed may reveal flaws.

We both promote small town rodeos, and attempt to explain complex topics such as cryptocurrency or power rates.

We’ve led the way exposing the details of high profile bankruptcies, tragedies, victories and successes.

Perhaps we haven’t seized on your issue. Maybe you feel that social media account that’s tailored to promote opinions you already hold is working well enough.

A world devoid of conversation, of counterbalancing opinion or facts, will only exacerbate frustration and therefore the fortunes of politicians who succeed by feeding it.

No, the professional media is not the enemy of the people, as Trump would have you believe.

We do, however, aspire to be the enemy of ignorance.

(Collin Gallant is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to https://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions.)

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