Ladies and Gentlemen, our President

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., speaks as President Donald Trump stands right during a campaign rally at Minuteman Aviation Hangar, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Missoula, Mont.)

Photo courtesy of AP images

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., speaks as President Donald Trump stands right during a campaign rally at Minuteman Aviation Hangar, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Missoula, Mont.)

by Elena Hamlin, Reporter

President Donald Trump praised Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte, who body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, saying, “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my guy,” and mimicked the assault. This most recent form of attack against the media occurred on Oct. 18, but Trump has always expressed his distaste for it.

The way in which he deals with his distaste for the media is concerning. Instead of defending himself with factual evidence, he takes to verbal abuse on Twitter and in speeches. Any coverage of him that he disagrees with is “fake news” and deemed “wrong.” If this news truly is “fake” then there is evidence to disprove the claim, and if the news is true, then the people of America should know.

A reporter’s job is to seek the truth, and so many times credible reporters have been verbally abused by our president for seeking truths he doesn’t want exposed. If Trump’s truth is not one he wants the public to see, then there need to be changes in office, not in the news. To deny a reporter access to the truth or to ridicule them for finding it is denying public access to that truth. The public deserves to know what is happening in their country, whether it exposes the president or not, such as the NSA surveillance disclosure that admitted to spying on hundreds of millions of Americans mobile device activity. To turn the other cheek when our leader is wrong is to let our country fail. All leaders have some ugly truth, as do most people. It has to come out sometime.

The right to write and publish works of criticism is protected under the First Amendment. Operating under the Constitution, it is the president’s job is to uphold the amendments, and our president has a rich history of mocking the media and reporters, on one occasion even mocking reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has been struck with palsy since childhood, for his physical disabilities. Trump has been recorded saying, “it’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” Americans have fought for their right to free speech, similar to the way we fought for independence. To take away that right is unconstitutional.

The way in which Trump has most recently been recorded verbally abusing the media is frightening because it promotes attacks on reporters. In his praising of Gianforte for his assault, he endorsed violence on the news. This is incredibly inappropriate with the recent death of reporter Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia who was tortured, killed and dismembered for being critical of the Saudi Arabian government. Our president, this country’s leader, is putting reporters, the news and the First Amendment in danger. Media sources are targeted for doing their job and providing deserving citizens with the untainted truth.

Trump often generalizes all reporters that have made claims he disagrees with as unfactual, often ruining their career for doing their job, seeking the truth. However, most of the claims made that he disagrees with are true. While some reporters are guilty of taking their opinion and stating it as fact, journalists can justly put their opinion into editorial pieces. Of course, he has a reason to dislike them (because most of them are exposing his flaws as a leader), but he has none to discredit them. His generalizations about reporters as a whole being biased-based spark further separation between the two parties, causing violence and conflict all over the nation. Violence sparking amongst Trump supporters is targeted towards these reporters they claim are biased, but often to the Republican crowd, any claim, even correct, against the president is biased.

A president should know his secrets will be on display before he walks in front of 325.7 million Americans, according to the United States Census Bureau, and should not ridicule reporters for doing their jobs and providing for the public. The way Trump operates on this issue is ‘frankly disgusting.’