Tampa – President Donald Trump recently tweeted a threat to revoke broadcast network FCC licenses, which could be a cause for concern for media organizations.
It troubles news sources and defenders of the First Amendment that Trump is attacking a fundamental democratic right even though he does not have the power to revoke FCC licenses, and the FCC does not license individual networks, according to their website.
Trump repeatedly criticized the media while campaigning for president, and his attacks have only increased since taking office.
One of his most affecting comments came in February, when he declared the media an enemy.
How did it come to this?
The media has conducted itself as the fourth estate for centuries. Which means, ethically, it must act as an objective party that keeps checks and balances on the government by always reporting the truth, according to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.
According to the Constitution, the president and Congress has to take an oath of office before representing the country. It states they must support and defend everything in the Constitution. Which includes freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Two separate entities, swearing to act on the public’s behalf.
So, who is following through?
A recent Reynolds Journalism Institute poll shows that about two-thirds of the public are either likely, or very likely to trust the mainstream media.
A CNN poll from August found that three-quarters of all Americans do not trust the majority of information that the White House releases.
Since Gallup began polling Americans, the highest rating of confidence was in 1976 when 72 percent of Americans trusted the media. The public’s trust in the media has steadily declined since 2007, and it dropped heavily in 2015.
However, recent trends indicate that the public has begun to trust the media again, according to the Reynolds Journalism Institute poll.
The Pew Research Center says the highest rating of trust in government (from 1958 until 2017) was in 1964, when 77 percent of Americans reported that they could trust the federal government.
However, trust in government dipped under 20 percent during the Clinton and Obama administrations. Sudden peaks or valleys in these confidence ratings generally occur after a scandal or national event, such as Clinton’s impeachment and 9/11.
The public does not overwhelmingly trust the government or journalists, which should be a concern because the public is the most important audience for each of them.
What does Twitter think?
Both Trump and the media have critics and supporters when it comes to Twitter.
Regardless, the public is consistently going back and forth about whether the president, or the media, is justified.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an end in sight for the war between Trump and the media.
ESPN recently suspended one of its personalities, Jemele Hill, for tweeting about the NFL’s national anthem protests.
Trump targeted Hill. He tweeted about ESPN and the NFL dozens of times in response to the anthem protests and her tweets.
But, Hill has also previously criticized Trump.
The fighting continues, and the low jabs on both sides will probably not help matters.