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Journalists For Donald Trump
Trump's First Term And The Media
The media coverage of the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States on the 20th of January 2017, country-wide anti-Trump protests and the first leg of the Trump presidency, calls for journalists to declare how they voted, so as not to cheat television and print media consumers.
Some protesters cheated because they voted for Donald Trump but decided to join the throngs on Washington for reasons best known to themselves. That is their prerogative and benefits of living in a free country, for most citizens at least.
But it is a different matter for journalists because they have two faces, like the U.S. dollar bill. One face is citizenship, which affords them the right to vote in local and presidential elections. The other face is their job as purveyors of information about the state of the nation.
They reported the progress of the Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump presidential duel last year. They were also responsible for putting Donald Trump in the White House as the 45th President of the United States, with their personal vote.
Therefore, they were journalists for Trump. Former President Barack Obama also had journalists who voted for him, so did his predecessors. Journalists for Trump are anonymous because they are part of the voting millions whose vote is secret.
Journalists and First Amendment
Journalism colleges across the U.S. feed students with lofty ideas about rights enshrined in the First Amendment vault, objectivity and getting both sides of the story, but overlook human nature and its propensity to protect its own and journalists also have ideals to protect.
They have subjective beliefs about who is an American, taxes, Wall Street, sweat shops, women with many children, women with no children, money vs. the environment, abortion, labour unions, the exodus of jobs to no minimum wage countries or presidential candidates.
Journalists have a right to the secrecy of their vote, but the person watching television or reading a newspaper or a weekly current affairs magazine, should also have a right to know the cloth of the person who wrote the story.
Was it a journalist for Hilary Clinton or journalist for Donald Trump? Was it someone that favoured the 2017 U.S. inauguration or protests?
Employees have secret lives and employers cannot prescribe a certain way of life for them. What they do after working hours is their business but, they might challenge it, if it affects performance on the job.
Police checks for example. People who want to work with kids need a police check, so do those that want to join the police. Some government jobs need security clearance.
Equally, journalists should declare their vote because it is not straight reporting, but a tapestry of collecting information, collating it, and presenting it on top of the newscast or giving it a small paragraph on page 8.
Their political and social beliefs cloud every sound bite they use: the one sentence lifted from an hour-long interview, the candidate’s photo when he was a teenager, or the commentary that a former president’s wife will run for the same office in the near future.
Is The Media Objective?
The difference between a journalist and a reporter is a gray area but, it won't be off the mark to maintain that although anchors and field reporters are the face of the media, the people who pull strings are news directors and producers.
They influence the way the final story will be presented to the public in many ways, such as preparing questions for reporters, who to interview and how the news will be gathered. It is their call.
News directors and producers should declare how they voted because how people are interviewed on television, can be infuriating. They cannot finish answering the first question because the journalist interrupts with a second one.
It is also not uncommon for anchors to ask questions and provide answers at the same time because they are instructed to force feed a certain answer.
Editing is also one of the reasons why objectivity is a fallacy. For example, a reporter interviews a politician on camera then sends the interview to his producer electronically. She watches it and hears the following sentence.
“America is weak because we are not united.”
She decides to use only the first part, America is weak. That is gross misrepresentation but it becomes the headline and the politician is ruined and may not bounce back.
That is why it is important for decision-makers in the media to declare their voting patterns, so that the public will understand the various news angles or bias.
The Future of Journalism Schools
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is admired across the world, with some countries incorporating it into their Bill of Rights, but it came about in 1791, before television, and at a time when journalists exclusively owned tools of the trade.
Not anymore. They no longer break news. They monitor Twitter instead, but they still have the First Amendment’s royal protection.
It is time to give back to consumers by declaring how journalists vote in elections so that they understand why stories are photo-shopped with political bias.
Their vote should be public like how politicians vote in the U.S. Congress. Failure to do so might finally put journalism, which is already limping, in the grave.