Not Just Fake News

Political journalism reiterates the importance of the press

By Zoie German-Martinez, Opinion Editor

Politicians have always frowned upon journalism for its exposure of corrupt politics. For example, John Adams couldn’t handle harsh criticism so he passed the Sedition Act of 1798, criminalizing the spread of “fake news” against the government.
Sound familiar?
To current President Donald Trump, the stories written against him are fake and illegally obtained.
It’s a dangerous time for journalists and that, understandably, could force aspiring journalists to change their career path. Standing up to the President, no matter how ridiculous he may be, is hard to do, especially when he tries to shut down the EPA for acknowledging climate change.
However, the era of Trump’s presidency is the perfect time to revive the recognition of the press’ importance.
Journalists provide an unbiased and critical perspective of the people running the country. These evaluations make politicians accountable for their actions. Journalists have acted this year to call out Trump and his administration for lying to the public.
No matter what Trump tries to do to avoid damage to his ego, he still gets exposed.
CNN reporter Rachel Maddow also publicized Trump’s 2005 tax returns on March 14, with information found in journalist David Kay Johnston’s mailbox. The tax return scandal has lasted months, supported by citizens and journalists alike.
And it isn’t an issue of people not liking Trump’s wealth, it’s an issue of what kind of person we want to lead our country. Learning about his misdemeanors and ethics can make or break his popularity, just like when voters turned against Hillary Clinton after her email scandal.
The press is one of the only ways we can become educated about current events in the world, and the purpose of journalism is to bring awareness of issues. However, there are niches in the system.
Political parties and corporations can control what’s released through bribery. Stories can be manipulated and not be completely truthful ­— just look at the tabloids. This manipulation comes from favoritism and bias, which shouldn’t be present in journalism.
True reporters want the facts, not just some contortion of it controlled by someone richer than them, and they’re the ones taking initiative against the Trump administration by standing up for what they believe in. The country needs to follow their example and through that, realize how important the press is to freedom and democracy.