Donald Trump is an insecure menace. During his press conference earlier today, he dismissed several mainstream media outlets—including the BBC (the BBC!)—as being “fake news.” He then took a question from Breitbart.
This should come as no surprise.
Anyone paying attention knows Trump has waged a steady campaign to delegitimize the media. The fact this is being done by the soon-to-be leader of the free world should terrify anyone with half a brain and a grain of logic.
Leaders—at least in democracies—are beholden to the people. It’s the job of a healthy, cynical press to ask uncomfortable questions and hold those leaders accountable. When trust in the media is eroded, there can be no accountability. Trump fails to realize it’s not the media’s job to be nice to him. Fair, yes—but not nice.
In the comment section to nearly every story I read on the U.S. intelligence community’s assertion the Russians hacked the election to back Trump, there were posts from Trump’s supporters dismissing the articles as “fake news.”
It’s scary that there’s a large segment of our population who will believe any outlandish tale about Obama (birther movement) or Clinton (pizzeria pedophile ring), but refuse to believe news stories rooted in fact with numerous verifiable, expert sources.
If trust in the mainstream media completely erodes, all we’re left with is propaganda (see Sean Hannity) and a thin-skinned megalomaniac in power who can control whatever message he wants.
Edward R. Murrow, where are you?